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Commons Chamber

Volume 117: debated on Monday 30 June 1851

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House Of Commons

Monday, June 30, 1851.

MINUTES.] NEW MEMBER SWORN.—For Bath, George Treweeke Scobell, Esq.

PUBLIC BILLS.—1° Veterinary Surgeons Exemption; Assessed Taxes Composition; General Board of Health (No. 2).

2° Chief Justices' Salaries; Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction; Merchant Seamen's Funds; Loan Societies; Highway Rates; Burgesses and Freemen's Parliamentary Franchise.

Customs Bill—Adulteration Of Coffee

Order for Committee read.

rose to move the Resolution of which he had given notice relative to the adulteration of Coffee. He said, that this subject had been under discussion so recently, that perhaps some apology was necessary for again bringing it under the notice of the House. After the very slight majority which the Government had obtained against him, after the opinions expressed in various quarters and from different parties in that House who were not unacquainted with the subject, and after the general manifestation of hostility by the public out of doors to a continuance of the system on the part of the Government for continuing these frauds, he was in hopes that the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer would have withdrawn that obnoxious Treasury Minute which was the only question at issue. The present was no party question. It would have been in a party sense no triumph to him (Mr. T. Baring) to have succeeded in his Motion, and it would have been no disgrace to the Government to have withdrawn the Treasury Minute. The Motion he now proposed was not linked with the fate of the Government. The withdrawal of a Treasury Minute would not shake the Treasury, and the power given to parties to sell chicory was not sought to be withdrawn. All that was asked was, that they should sell it for what it was on its real and genuine character, and not as coffee. He might be asked, why he again forced the discussion of this question on the House after a previous division, when the subject seemed almost exhausted, both as to its statistical details and in every other respect, except in the determined adherence of the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer to his first opinion, after the representations of that portion of the commercial community which was concerned in the production and importation of coffee had been disregarded, and after the able speeches by which he had been supported on previous occasions. But the state of the case was this. By a Treasury Minute, the Excise officers were directed not to interfere with the mixture of chicory with coffee, and in consequence there existed at present no supervision or control whatever over the adulteration of coffee. It was now proposed that the House should go into Committee to consider the details of a great reduction in the duties on coffee, and the House was called upon to express an opinion that the reduction of duty would have the effect of cheapening the commodity to the consumer. Two questions thereupon naturally occurred. Was the reduction proposed a reduction of duty to such an extent as to prevent the future adulteration of coffee, to take away the temptation from the dealer, and to render inoperative the permission to adulterate coffee with all kinds of ingredients? If the proposed reduction of coffee were not to such an extent as to prevent adulteration, was it fair to those who produced and imported coffee, and who paid a duty of 50 per cent upon it, to place them in com- petition with dealers who paid no duty upon articles which passed current with the Treasury sanction as coffee? The duty upon coffee proposed by the Bill was 3d., and the duty upon foreign chicory was 3d., while the untaxed chicory grown at home could be brought into the market and sold at 4d. per lb. Now, when for 4d. per lb. you could buy a commodity and pass it off for coffee, which paid a duty of 3d., it was in vain to expect that a reduction of the duty to 3d. would prevent adulteration in coffee. Here, then, was a direct inducement to the dealer to adulterate his coffee with chicory. The value of coffee, ground for use, might be taken to be 10d. per lb. Chicory was the dearest commodity with which coffee could be adulterated. Beans and lupins were cheaper than chicory, while dog-biscuits, mahogany shavings, and tan, might be had for little or nothing. But without taking into consideration other adulterating substances, let them take the case of chicory. Chicory cost 4d. per lb., then half a pound of coffee at 5d., and half a pound of chicory at 2d., gave a pound of something which was sold for coffee, and which cost only 7d. This, be it observed, was a greater mixture of coffee than was generally sold by the fraudulent dealers, and hero was a mixture for 7d. when the article in a pure state cost 10d., which they were selling to the public at from 1s. 4d. to 2s. as "canister coffee" and "patent coffee. Now, did the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer think to put an end to adulteration of this nature by such a reduction of the duty on coffee as he proposed? If not, then came the question whether they would act fairly to the producers of coffee unless they took some means to put an end to these adulterations? The propriety of removing all protective duties, was a question wholly unconnected with the present Motion. The colonists, indeed, might say, that having taken away all protective duties from them, and having compelled them to enter into competition with the coffee-growers of other countries, it wos unfair to make them compete with untaxed chicory at home, which was sold as coffee by Government advertisement. The colonists might say, let the Government be fair one way or the other; and let them either tax chicory or take off the duty on coffee. He would advise neither. It would be too great a loss to the revenue to take off the duty on coffee at the present time, and he was opposed to laying a tax upon chicory. But if the Government did not allow tobacco to he grown in this country without taxing it as foreign tobacco—if they would not allow any saccharine matter resembling sugar to be sold without taxing it—then they ought not to allow an untaxed substitute for coffee to compete with an article that paid a high tax. It was not the colonists only, but the importers of foreign coffee, who might appeal to them on the ground of fairness and justice to prevent the encouragement of fraud. He did not wish to interfere with the growth of chicory at home, or to remove that protective duty which our agriculturists enjoyed as against the foreign chicory growth. Let chicory be grown and sold. All he said was, do not let it be sold for what it was not. It was no answer to tell him that adulterations in coffee existed before the Treasury Minute, and that adulterations would take place after it was withdrawn. He knew that the Government could not prevent fraud; but it was one thing to brand it with disgrace, and another to stamp it with legality; and it made all the difference with regard to the extent to which the practice might be carried. It was no answer, then, to say, that the withdrawal of the Treasury Minute would not prevent fraud; nor was it any answer to his Motion for the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer to say that he wished to have no Excise interference. What was the difference between the Excise interference against the adulteration of tea, tobacco, and pepper, and the case of coffee? The hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) advocated the removal of all this Excise interference. But how would he get his revenue? Let the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer remove the Excise interference with regard to tea, tobacco, and pepper, if he objected to Excise prosecutions for the adulteration of coffee; but let him be consistent, and not have one system for one article, and another system for another. As the case stood at present, they did not prosecute the man who adulterated coffee; but they did prosecute the parties who adulterated pepper, even though it might be with chicory. Coffee produced a large duty, diminished, indeed, on account of the system pursued by the Government, but still amounting to 600,000l. Therefore he conceived that, as a question of revenue, the Government were bound to adopt the same course upon coffee as when the Ex- cise found that sloe leaves were mixed with tea, rice with pepper, and molasses with beer. But then he was told that he proposed to interfere with the produce of the British soil, and to destroy a branch of industry that was remunerative to the agriculturist. He certainly did think that the agricultural interest had nothing to gain from any system which was not founded upon justice. It might as well be said that, because sloe leaves were the produce of the soil, they ought to be used in the adulteration of tea, as to say that chicory ought to be sold for coffee. There was one principle which the House ought to adopt with regard to the manufacturing, the commercial, and the agricultural classes, and that was to prevent and punish fraud, and to protect the honest dealer. And it was not the Government that ought to depart from that system. By the Treasury Minute only chicory was permitted to be mixed, but practically the officers of Excise were prevented from all interference with respect to any mixture. And so it must be; for if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he must have armies of excisemen in order to prevent the adulteration of coffee by chicory, it was clear that it would be as difficult to exercise any interference with respect to other articles. He presumed that it was upon some such ground that a Treasury Minute had not been issued to prevent the adulteration of coffee with other deleterious substances; and the warrant of the Treasury for not interfering with the mixture of chicory with coffee, was considered as a warrant for abstaining to interfere in cases of its adulteration with other things. The rich man might protect himself against these adulterations; but the masses of the consumers were not in the habit, and had not the ability, to lay in any stock, and the poorer classes only bought what they wanted, and when it was ready for use. They could not buy mills or roast the coffee, as they were advised by some persons to do, and they therefore required protection against the frauds and abuses of the unjust dealers. The right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer asserted that the mixture of chicory with coffee did not diminish the consumption of coffee, and that it was no injury cither to the producer, the importer, the revenue, or the consumer. Now he (Mr. T. Baring) wished to say that he was interested in the cultivation and importation of coffee, and therefore he would leave it to others to receive his opinions with such a degree of reserve as they might think necessary. But still he would remark that it was probable that those who had a personal interest in any topic that came under consideration would bring some information to the subject; and if all of those who were interested in the question of the consumption of coffee, wore importers both of foreign and colonial produce, and if they were unanimous in saying that this Treasury Minute had diminished the consumption of coffee, he thought that such a statement would go some way in corroborating the statistics that had been already quoted on the subject, and in refuting the assertion of the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer. Now he would state that the result of the continuance of that Treasury Minute of 1840 had been to produce a gradual but very large diminution in the consumption of coffee. On the 5th of January, 1851, the consumption of coffee was very little above what it was on the 5th of January, 1845, when the reduction of the duty first came into full operation, while there was every reason to suppose that there had been an increased consumption of other articles. Without troubling the House with any lengthened details, he would just take three separate periods at intervals of ten years from each other, when the consumption of coffee was as follows:—In 1830 the imports of coffee were 22,691,000 lbs.; in 1840, 28,722,000 lbs.; in 1850, 31,226,000 lbs. Up to 1840 the duty was on West India coffee, 6d. per lb.; on East India coffee, 9d. per lb.; and on foreign coffee, 1s. 3d. per lb. In 1850 the duty on East and West India coffee was 4d. per lb., and on foreign coffee, 6d. per lb. Here was an increase of 6,000,000 lbs. in 1840 over 1830, when there was no reduction of duty, and only an increase of 2,500,000 lbs. in 1850 over the period when a reduction of 50 per cent had taken place in the duty, and a diminution of 60 per cent on the bonding price. Those figures showed, if anything could, the reduction in the consumption of coffee. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer could not allege that the chock in the consumption was attributable to any want of prosperity on the part of that portion of the population who were the principal consumers of coffee, namely, the population of the large towns. They had been in a very prosperous condition, and yet year after year the consumption of coffee fell off. There was no reason for saying that the check in the consumption of coffee had arisen from the preference given for tea and cocoa. There had been a considerable increase, no doubt, in the consumption of tea; but the consumption of cocoa was very much what it was in 1847. Tea had increased, hut not out of proportion with the increase of the population, when they considered the reduction of the first cost, and the increased ability of consumption. But while with a high duty of 300 per cent on tea, the consumption was increasing, the consumption of coffee, upon which the duty had been reduced, had fallen off. It would be impossible to account for this, unless by the adulterations in the article of coffee. This was the case he offered, and the object of the Instruction to the Committee which he now moved, was not to go back to any stringent measure against the production or consumption of chicory, not to go back to that state of the law which prevented the dealer from having chicory in stock. He would leave him full liberty to sell either the one or the other article, but not to sell fraudulently the cheaper article under the name of the dearer article. He wished for no interference with trade; all he asked was that the Treasury should not stand godfather to the legal christening of chicory by the name of coffee. He did not wish to interfere between the dealer and the public. He did not understand why the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer objected to this, except that he might say he did not wish to interfere, or perhaps that it would lead to an increase in the number of excisemen; but he did not think that any such increase was necessary. The right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer said he was fortified in his opinion by a memorial signed by 3,682 retailers and grocers who were opposed to any change; copies of that memorial had been extensively circulated throughout the country, and in it was a passage to the effect that, should the Treasury Minute of 1840 be withdrawn, very great injury would be done to the retail trade, because the conscientious dealer would be prevented from selling coffee mixed with any other ingredient, while the unscrupulous dealer would continue to do so. But were those 3,682 persons conscientious or unscrupulous? If they were unscrupulous, what weight could be attached to their representations? He believed, however, that they were otherwise, and that they and the great body of the grocers in the country were highly respectable men, and that a mere intimation given to them that it was illegal to adulterate coffee, would lead to a cessation of the practice among the great mass of grocers, and that others would, either from shame or fear of the control of the Excise, soon follow the example. A great number practised this adulteration because they were told by the Treasury it was legal; and he knew many who had told him they had resisted the temptation because they could not reconcile it to their consciences to sell to their customers an article that was not genuine, and that it was only when ruin stared them in the face from the adoption of it by others that they had resorted to the practice. If the Minute were withdrawn, the poor man might still take what portion of chicory he pleased. Was it not consistent with common sense and justice to the producer, and equity to the consumer, to withdraw that Minute? He could not have any hostile feeling to the Minister who introduced it, for it was introduced under different circumstances, and he did not believe that any man would have done it if he had known the system of fraud to which it would lead. Believing that the course which he recommended would increase the consumption of coffee, as well as benefit the consumer, he begged to submit his Motion to the favourable consideration of the House.

Motion made, and Question proposed—

"That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to make provision therein for preventing the mixture of chicory with coffee by the vendors of coffee."

said, he was the last person who should attribute to his hon. Friend that he was influenced by any interest on his part in the importation of coffee. He gave him full credit for the motives which influenced him in bringing forward this Motion; but he certainly was a little surprised at a Motion of this kind. Mixtures of Various kinds took place in almost everything we ate and drank. But his hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon wished to go back to the system of interference by the Excise. In 1832 coffee-dealers were not allowed to have chicory in their possession. Between that period and 1840, they were allowed to have it on their premises, but not to mix it with coffee. But that was found so inconvenient, on account of the number of Excise prosecutions, that on a representation made to his right hon. Friend (Sir F. Baring), then Chancellor of the Exchequer, his right hon. Friend issued the Treasury Minute in question, and since then no such prosecution had taken place. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. T. Baring) said he did not mind the mixture of chicory with coffee, but that he objected to the mixture of other articles; nevertheless, what he asked was to prevent the mixture of chicory, and of chicory only, for the Minute referred to nothing else. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was of the opinion, so far as the question went between the consumer and the dealer, that the consumer ought to be left to take care of himself, because, if the article was bad, the dealer would lose his trade; if good, it would increase; and there were only two grounds upon which Government interference should take place, either that the article mixed was deleterious, or that the revenue was interfered with. Now, the hon. Gentleman said, that under the name of chicory deleterious articles were mixed with coffee; but from inquiry he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had made, he believed that that was not a general practice, and he found that those who dealt in coffee were very naturally indignant at the imputation they conceived was cast on their honesty, by its being said that other articles than chicory were mixed with coffee. He had only that morning received a letter from one of the largest firms in the metropolis dealing in coffee, and they said—

"We are prepared to prove that previous to the introduction of chicory a large portion of coffee that was sent us to roast was so offensive during the process of roasting that our men could scarcely bear themselves in the premises, and were compelled to leave and get into the air to recover themselves. What has become of all this trash now? Why, the trade will not buy it, and the importers do not send it. The trade can afford to give long prices for their coffee, and by buying fine chicory they can afford to give the working classes a better drinking article, and far more wholesome, than half the coffee that was sent into this country twenty or even fourteen years ago."
As to any deleterious articles being mixed with coffee, he was as ready to prosecute as if the Treasury Minute did not exist; and how it could be supposed that because chicory was allowed to be mixed with coffee, other articles might also be mixed with it, he could not conceive. No doubt, with respect to articles on which a high duty-was imposed, as tobacco or tea, it was desirable to enforce the law against adulterations; but that was not so much for the protection of the consumer as for the revenue; and it was for the discretion of the authorities of that department to say whether they considered it necessary for the protection of the revenue to subject persons to the vexatious interference which always accompanied Excise prosecutions. He believed that in this case that interference would be greater and more vexatious than any advantage that would be gained by the withdrawal of the Minute. He would not follow the hon. Gentleman through his figures brought forward in proof of his assertion that the consumption of coffee had fallen off. No doubt that was true as to the last four years; but the consumption of coffee had materially increased within the last ten, and he thought that he had himself taken the best course, by the reduction of duty, to promote that consumption, though it might not utterly prevent fraud. His hon. Friend had referred to the memorial which had been signed by 3,682 grocers. Now, he knew that that had been signed by sixty-three in not a very large town in the West Riding of Yorkshire; but there were, in fact, 131,000 grocers in Great Britain licensed to deal in coffee, and every one of those persons might be subject to the supervision of the Excise if this Treasury Minute were withdrawn; and did his hon. Friend think it a light matter that they who had been for ten or eleven years freed from that supervision should now again be subjected to it? The hon. Member had said, and had said very truly, that some weight was due to the representations of those who were interested in this subject as coffee importers, because they could give information to the House upon it. He trusted, therefore, that the representations of the growers of chicory would have some weight also. Memorials had been addressed to him from Lincolnshire, Essex, and some parts of Yorkshire, all of which prayed that no interference might take place to prevent the sale of chicory. Only that morning he had had a letter from a most respectable person of Protectionist principles, in which he said—
"I believe I am one of the most extensive growers in this country. I hope it will be a sufficient apology for my troubling you on this subject. I believe there are 20,000 people engaged at this time in the necessary cleaning and culti- vation of this root, and I may add that this number, if not engaged in this, would be totally out of employ. I have nearly 300 people engaged at present; and we find, from the very circumstance of the growth of this plant, that the supply of labour is not equal to the demand; consequently an advance of wages is the result, and every labourer in the chicory districts is in full employ."
In the great consuming districts the mixed article was preferred to the inferior coffee that was formerly sold. [Mr. CHISHOLM ANSTEY: No!] His hon. and learned Friend might not be of that opinion, but he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had abundant proof of it. It was remarkable that up to that moment not one complaint had been made by the coffee consumers. Having so recently addressed the House on this subject, he would not trespass longer on their attention; but he must observe upon the extraordinary course adopted on this occasion. They were now going into Committee on a Bill on the Customs duties, and his hon. Friend the Member for Huntington proposed to introduce a clause to be carried out by the Excise. That was a new practice. It was indeed altogether new, when the Government did not think it necessary to enforce any interference on their part, that they should be called upon to do so. He had heard complaints that the Government were not willing to give a free power of cultivation to the agriculturists of the country. If, then, the consumer now was prevented from having a cheap and wholesome beverage, and the producer was prevented from growing chicory, it would not be the act of the Government, but the hardship would be forced on the Government, unwilling and reluctant to interfere in a manner so injurious to the dealer, the grower, and the public.

, as a commercial man, begged to express his entire concurrence in the Motion of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. T. Baring). Neither the growers of Ceylon, nor the importers of it into this country, nor even a considerable portion of the dealers, objected to the use of chicory as chicory; but their objections were confined entirely to the use of various substances for the employment of which the present system afforded such facilities to the unscrupulous dealers in the country. The mixture of coffee with chicory was forbidden by an express Act of Parliament; and yet the Government had taken upon themselves to suspend the operation of that Act, and thereby to enable the frauds to be practised of which they complained. Power was undoubtedly vested in the Government to initiate prosecutions or not, as the peculiar circumstances of each case might seem to justify; but he denied their right to issue Treasury Minutes the effect of which was to repeal an Act of Parliament. The whole of the substances which were used for adulterating coffee had not been enumerated; and, as many hon. Gentlemen were about to dine, he should be sorry to name them all. He had, however, in his pocket a sample of one of these ingredients, which was given to him as he came into the House, and he should be happy to show it to any hon. Gentleman who was curious on the subject. It was horse's blood. What, then, they protested against was that persons should be allowed to sell the poor man an article composed of horse beans, a little of coffee, a little of chicory, and a little of these filthy abominations. The poor man was often under pecuniary obligations to the proprietor of a shop, and could not defend himself from these frauds by removing his custom to another; and, therefore, it became the duty of hon. Members to protest in the strongest possible manner against the sale of these abominable and disgusting adulterations.

said, when he had last addressed the House on this subject he had made some reflections, which were perhaps contrary to the rules of the House, upon the disinterestedness of the hon. Member who had introduced the Motion; and he deeply regretted that he could not remove that impression from his mind, notwithstanding the hon. Gentleman's straightforward disavowal. The hon. Gentleman had admitted that he was largely interested in coffee plantations in the island of Ceylon and the West Indies. [Mr. T. BARING: Not the West Indies.] He had certainly understood from the speech from the throne—from the commercial throne which the hon. Gentleman occupied in the City, that he was interested in plantations in the West Indies; but at all events the hon. Gentleman had recently by the fall of the hammer possessed himself of a valuable tract of country in Ceylon. A gentleman who at that moment was staying at his (Sir J. Tyrell's) house, had furnished him with the particulars. His friend had been an unfortunate speculator in coffee. About four years ago he was possessed of some 7,000l. or 8,000l., which he was persuaded to invest in a coffee plantation. He was unfortunate. The estate was brought to the hammer, and it passed to that great house, of which his hon. Friend (Mr. T. Baring) was so great an ornament. The estate was called Peradenia, and it was situated near Kandy. He (Sir J. Tyrell) would like to know when had arisen this now-born pious horror at chicory; for when the matter was first introduced into that House, scarcely four hon. Members know anything about it. There were at present 20,000 persons engaged in the production of chicory, and the cultivation of the root also gave employment to large numbers of persons in Essex, Sussex, and other districts. The cleaning, roasting, and preparation of this vegetable, grown upon a given quantity of land, afforded much more employment to the agricultural community than if the same quantity of land were devoted to cereal crops. One of the hon. Members for Suffolk having offered a prize at an agricultural meeting for the person who employed the greatest number of labourers, it was won by a chicory grower. He had in his hand a letter from a person who farmed 160 acres with chicory, and who in that cultivation employed thirty labourers; whereas, were the same quantity of land applied only to the cultivation of grain, it would employ only fourteen or fifteen labourers. He (Sir J. Tyrell) had seen the balance-sheet of another farmer who had expended 135l. 1s. 11d. in labour for the cultivation of the same root; and when so much capital had been invested in this way, what right had the planters of the West Indies to come there and brand the persons who grew chicory with encouraging the use of horses' blood? He should be happy to give them a hundredweight of genuine chicory if they could produce a hundredweight of the mixture they had described. No doubt it answered the hon. Gentleman's purpose very well to allege these adulterations as a reason for the Motion he had proposed; but the real grievance was, the coffee growers did not like the competition of chicory, and therefore they wanted the Treasury Minute to be altered. He (Sir J. Tyrell) had in his hand a letter, which he would read, and he hoped the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Wakley) was in his place, for it would be seen that, like Cæsar's wife, he was not altogether above suspicion. [The letter spoke of the cry as having been got up by the coffee growers and merchants, and hinted that the Lancet might be in their pay.] With respect to the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer's remarks about the agricultural interest, they were of a nature they so seldom heard from the Government, that they wore quite refreshing. On a former occasion he had had to lament that the Government, with the exception of the late Attorney General, had no practical acquaintance with agriculture. It was true that the farmers had had the benefit of various lectures given them by a distinguished Member of the Government, the hon. Member for Westbury (Mr. J. Wilson), in his very amusing newspaper; and he (Sir J. Tyrell) ventured to suggest that it might in future be worth the consideration of the Government whether the salaries of certain of their officers might not be paid by placing tracts of land at their disposal. These gentlemen might borrow money of the Government to drain this land; and their actual employment of capital, skill, and industry upon it, would probably render these instructive treatises on the subject of agriculture much more satisfactory. But to return to the subject of adulteration. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) had, perhaps, better get up a meeting in Exeter Hall, and by taking a high moral view of the question on the shocking immorality of mixing chicory with coffee, he might secure a greater number of votes, and at all events he would gain a great amount of the concentrated essence of prejudice. Seriously, it was most unfair to turn round in this sudden way upon a number of persons who had invested their capital upon what was now almost the only profitable branch of agriculture. It was true that they were only a small body, and that was perhaps the reason why hon. Gentlemen thought themselves entitled to trample upon them.

said, the speech of the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Tyrell), though amusing, was entirely beside the question. Nobody wanted to interfere with the growth of chicory, or to prevent the agricultural mind from indulging in ingenious speculations on the culture of that root. All that was wanted was to prevent substitutes from being sold for things which they wore not, and for prices which, if offered fairly in the market, they would not fetch. Taking the value of chicory at 4d. per pound, was it fair or honest that it should be sold as coffee for 10d. or 1s. a pound? When the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer talked of the boon to the poor man, and all that subterfuge which he borrowed from his respectable friends the grocers, he (Mr. C. Anstey) should like to know who were the true friends of the poor man—those who would enable him to judge whether it was chicory or coffee that he was buying; or those who, like the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursued a policy which raised the price of chicory to the poor man, at the same time that it lowered the value of coffee to the planters. The only parties who benefited by that policy, were the grocers. There were about 3,000 grocers who bought the genuine article in the cheapest market, and adulterated it, and then sold it in the dearest market; and of course these parties would memorialise the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and say there was nothing but wisdom in the Treasury Minute of 1840. The result of the present policy would be that Government must take the duty off colonial coffee entirely. The necessity of this was beginning to be felt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer having proposed to reduce it by one half, Either they must do this, or revoke the objectionable Minute of the Treasury. The result of putting down the adulteration of tobacco had been a considerable increase of the duty. Though the Chancellor of the Exchequer refused to set in motion the Excise for the protection of coffee, he did not withhold this protection from tea; and the consequence had been, that the noxious article called "British leaf" had almost disappeared from the market. If the right hon. Baronet objected to enforcing excise regulations, let him repeal the coffee duty altogether. No change of the law was necessary; the two Acts of George III. and IV. were sufficient to secure all that was wanted. By those Acts a person who sold coffee could not sell chicory; a special license for the latter was required. The tobacco revenue was kept up by prosecutions of persons having in their possession materials for adulterating the genuine article. Why should not the same be done with regard to coffee? The law was perfectly easy of enforcement; and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not shown the slightest reason for resisting the Motion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said it would be an unprecedented course if they introduced an Excise Clause into a Customs Bill; but he would remind the right hon. Gentleman of the precedent established by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goul- burn), in which an excise clause was so introduced to prevent the adulteration of tobacco. Excise regulations were applied to prevent adulteration in the cases of tea, pepper, and tobacco; and he did not sec why the same safeguard should not be applied in the ease of coffee. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had made a concession that day for the first time which he had never been able to extract from him before, for he had said that he had no objection to prosecute if it could be shown that something else than chicory was employed in the adulteration of coffee. The right hon. Gentleman might consult the different resolutions which he (Mr. Anstey) had moved during the last three years, and he would find that he had never used the name of "chicory," but mentioned the fraudulent admixture of vegetable substances. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would adopt one or other of the two alternatives he had stated—either to abolish the coffee duties altogether, and enable the coffee planter to compete with burnt bricks and red earth; or to adopt the suggestion of the lion. Gentleman opposite (Mr. T. Baring), and permit the Excise officers to do their duty.

said, that, having been the author of the unfortunate Treasury Minute which had been so much objected to, he was anxious not to appear as one seeking to avoid his actual share of responsibility. The House had been given to understand, by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey), that they had only to repeal that Treasury Minute, and then there would he no difficulty in preventing the present adulteration of coffee. He was sorry to say that ten years' experience respecting the case of tobacco, convinced him that the truth was entirely the reverse of that assertion. From 1832 downwards, the statements were, that the adulteration of coffee and tobacco had gone on to a great extent, and that the use of chicory had very much increased. This Treasury Minute was issued on the representations of the most respectable part of the trade, that the existing legislation was a punishment upon the honest dealer, and a protection to the dishonest dealer; and that whilst they themselves did not mix any chicory with their coffee, their neighbours did, and took away their trade from them thereby. The respectable part of the trade, whom he consulted, also declared, that the law was so inefficient, that if the whole of its pow- ers were put in force, they would still be inadequate to check the evil. The House was told that this was a question of public morality, and that great dishonesty was practised in the sale of mixtures called coffee. But if the purchasers were perfectly well aware of what they bought, he could not understand how there was any dishonesty in the matter. He was told that all the world knew of this mixture; and that the "Chancellor of the Exchequer's Mixture" was put up in the shops. In fact, the people knew far more about the matter than many imagined, and the price which they paid must prevent any mistake; and therefore no deceit was practised. If the hon. Member for Huntingdon was anxious by his present Motion to advance public morality, he (Sir F. Baring) could assure him that his object would not be gained by the mere repeal of the Treasury Minute. They would have to introduce a new system of Excise surveillance; and did they think that that was likely to render the people more moral? His unfortunate experience of the working of the Excise laws led him to believe that it would lead to evasions and frauds; and, believing the Motion to involve an unconstitutional principle, he hoped the House would reject it.

assumed that, as the right lion. Gentleman (Sir F. Baring) was the author of the Treasury Minute in question, he had exhausted all the arguments which could be urged in its defence. And, after all, what had he said? All he had said was that with him it was a matter of necessity. But, he said, that if they now insisted in enforcing by means of the Excise a check on this fraudulent practice, they would increase immorality greatly by extending the Excise laws. The Government said they would not extend the operations of the Excise officer; but they allowed him to visit every grocer's shop for fraudulent mixtures of pepper and other articles, while coffee was to be left untouched. This was the first time he had heard the head of a department sanction the commission of fraud. A technical objection had been taken to the Motion on the ground that an Excise Clause was proposed to be introduced into a Customs Bill. But that was not correct. If the House should accede to the Motion of his hon. Friend (Mr. T. Baring), it would not follow I that Excise officers must of necessity be the persons employed, for it would be quite competent for the Treasury to employ the officers of the Customs if they should so please. The mixture was said to have been accepted by the public; but did they know of what it consisted—that it was only one-fourth coffee, and the other three-fourths chicory and various adulterations? He confessed he had never heard that the public were willing to have it, or that this celebrated "Chancellor of the Exchequer's Mixture" had been advertised. Such being the case, and the Motion of the hon. Member for Huntingdon not being inconsistent with the practice of the House, and being, moreover, calculated to prevent fraud, he would certainly give it his support.

said, that however hon. Gentlemen might object to taking coffee before their dinner, he could not but feel that this was a question of great importance to the commerce of the country. A greater delusion had never been foisted upon the public than that relating to the alleged adulterations of coffee, which had been first hatched by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey), and was now fathered by the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. T. Baring), and which had been so ably exposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the right hon. Baronet (Sir F. Baring). The whole gist of the matter was, that hon. Gentlemen opposite called upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to violate a very important principle, and to interfere in all the petty details of commerce, instead of leaving them to the fair spirit of competition. The question had not been properly represented. The fraud, if any, was sanctioned by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Herries), who declared that the mixture consisted of only one-fourth part coffee; whereas they had it on unquestionable authority, from the most respectable members of the trade, that pure coffee formed 75 per cent of the mixture. He had been informed, by one highly respectable dealer, that, in consequence of the late representations about bullocks' blood, and so forth, a great demand had arisen for "Anstey's Pure;" but those who had tried it had come back in a fortnight, saying, "Let us have no more of this stuff, for which we pay 1s. 8d. a pound; give us the old 'Wood's Mixture' again at 1s." The Act of George III. had been referred to, and it was said its provisions should he enforced; but that Act related only to vegetable adulterations, and would not touch the case of bullocks' blood or horses' blood, supposing such adulterations really to be used. This he doubted; for the hon. Member for Fins-bury (Mr. Wakley), who had written a great deal on this subject, and done more to damage the grocers than any other person, had never mentioned bullocks' blood or horses' blood as an adulteration. [An Hon. MEMBER: Horse beans, not horses' blood.] He supposed that adulterations of this kind existed only in the lively imagination and maiden zeal of the hon. Member for Harwich (Mr. R. W. Crawford), who dwelt on them with such unction, that he (Mr. B. Osborne) expected that, as the hon. Member had stated that he had some of the article in his pocket, he was about to throw it, as Mr. Burke did the dagger, on the floor of the House, so as to flash conviction into the minds of the most incredulous. This the hon. Gentleman had not done. The fact was, such articles were never used for adulterating coffee, for a very simple reason—chicory was much cheaper. Much stress had been laid on the fact, that the quantity of coffee entered for home consumption had decreased of late years; but what was the case as to tea and cocoa? They had very largely increased; and, taking the three articles together, tea, coffee, and cocoa, there had been an increased consumption, in the last two years, of 2,609,804 pounds. The revenue derived from those three articles had increased, in a very short period, 1,355,648l. This was a very important question for Ireland, where the consumption of coffee, he knew from occasionally residing there, was rapidly extending; and he should have called on the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. Anstey) to resist this Motion; but probably he did not care much for Ireland, as it was not likely he would sit for an Irish borough again. No doubt the hon. Gentleman who had brought forward the Motion was actuated by the purest motives; but there were parties behind—the large consignees of tea and coffee—who would have 25 per cent added to the value of their stock if this Motion were carried, and chicory withdrawn from the market; and many, he (Mr. B. Osborne) knew, were speculating for the rise at the present moment. Let not the House be made a tool for a commercial operation. By resisting this Motion, they would not only be marching under the direction of right principles, but would give greater satisfaction to the body of the people.

said, the question before the House was whether the Government would sanction a fraud on the community or not. They were told that chicory was instrumental in increasing the export of coffee from their colonies. Now, he could prove the contrary. He held in his hand a document to which he was anxious to invite the attention of Government, because it was a report made by one of their own Commissioners, appointed to report on the state of British Guiana, as regarded its exportation. He was anxious that the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies should account for the non-production of so important a document, which should have long since been in possession of the House. The present condition of British Guiana, as compared with what it was in 1829—according to the report which he had mentioned—was melancholy in the extreme as regarded the produce of coffee and sugar, owing to the premature apprentice system. The exports of coffee, instead of increasing, had decreased to the amount of 800,000l. in the short space of four months. Now, what he wished to have done was that everything should be sold in its own name, and not forced on the community who did not bargain for such. The same policy that had brought ruin on the colonies, was bringing it on the mother country also; and unless they stood together to check it, the present state of things would end in the ruin of the community. Therefore he hoped the House would support the proposition of the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. T. Baring), and so put an end to gross fraud and dishonesty.

said, the question before the House was in reality this—shall the Government of England sanction a practice of this kind, and will the House of Commons declare its approbation? Whether chicory were an unhealthy root or not, was not the question—the question was, shall the Government, which dares on certain occasions to institute prosecutions for adulteration, give its sanction to adulteration for a purpose not explained? Believing the practice of adulteration in this case, as well as in others, to be most unjust, immoral, and injurious to the character of the Legislature of this country, he, for one, should give a most cordial vote in favour of the Motion of the hon. Member for Huntingdon. He understood that before he came down to the House certain allusions had been made in the course of this debate, to himself; he thought he saw the hon. Baronet the Member for North Essex (Sir J. Tyrell) in his place, and he understood the remarks to have come from him. He was told that the hon. Baronet had received a letter from somebody whom he did not name.

It is queer writing; the writer seems to have a twist in his hand as well as in his head. "The row against chicory," said the writer, "has, I have no doubt, been got up by the coffee merchants and brokers, and it is not impossible that the Lancet and other publications are in their pay." Well, now he must say that the practice on the part of the Government of sanctioning adulteration was calculated to have an injurious effect on the morals of the people; it had even extended to the hon. Baronet the Member for North Essex. That hon. Baronet at one time was esteemed and respected as a noble-hearted, very droll, but straightforward and honourable man. But see the extraordinary effect produced on him by the practices of Government; he did not hesitate to read a letter in that House containing odious and scandalous imputations of this kind. The hon. Baronet had not road the name of the slanderer; he (Mr. Wakley) had got it in his hand; but if the hon. Baronet was acquainted with a single fact or circumstance which would justify him in conveying such an insinuation to the House and the country as he had done, he ought to have stated it. In former times, before he was reduced to his present wreck of morality, the hon. Baronet would have stood boldly forward in the face of that House, and named the party who made the accusation. But now it seemed that the hon. Baronet—an English country gentleman—notwithstanding the former attributes of his character, was sunk to such a degraded level, that he could make these insinuations. The fact was, that if he (Mr. Wakley) were guilty of the misconduct insinuated in this letter, he was unfit to have a seat in that House, and unfit to be a member of society. Throughout the whole of these proceedings, he could assure the House, and he trusted the hon. Baronet would take his word for it, that he had been solely influenced by public grounds and considerations, without regard to any individual feeling or consideration whatever. He could assure the hon. Baronet, and he hoped he should be believed when he said so, that out of that House he was not acquainted with a single coffee merchant or broker, nor had he had private communications with any one. What he had done had been induced by the conviction that the public health had been greatly damaged by the adulteration practised in this article. He trusted he should be allowed to add, that if he had said anything that could hurt the feelings of the hon. Baronet, he begged at once to recall it. Nothing could be further from his intention than to cast any imputation upon the hon. Baronet, and he entertained the greatest respect for his personal character.

, in explanation, assured the hon. Member for Finsbury that, in reading the extract from the communication he had received, he did not mean seriously to convey any insinuation against him. He entirely acquitted that hon. Gentleman of being influenced by the motives imputed to him. But when motives were bandied about from all quarters against the chicory supporters, he thought he would just read a part of one communition he had received; but in so doing he had furnished the hon. Gentleman against whom it was directed with the communication from which he made the extract.

said, he would only refer for one moment to the Treasury Minute which the Goverment was called upon to rescind. The Minute in question was issued for the purpose of putting a stop to harassing prosecutions on the part of the Excise against the sellers of chicory and coffee. On the 4th of August, 1840, an application was made to the Treasury respecting a prosecution against certain parties resident in Liverpool, who sold coffee and chicory. The Treasury was of opinion that those prosecutions were unwise, and should be dropped, because coffee mixed with chicory paid the Excise duty, and the revenue was in no wise injured. So long as this was the case, he thought the Government had acted wisely, and that an Excise officer had no right to interfere between the seller and the consumer.

said, his constituents in the North Riding of Yorkshire were chicory growers to a largo extent. They had been induced to grow that crop because they found that nothing else would pay since the repeal of the corn laws, and he felt hound to defend their interests. It had been said that on this occasion the agricultural party should not be divided, and he trusted they would not he induced to speculate on the chance of defeating Ministers.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 122; Noes 199: Majority 77.

List of the AYES.

Adair, H. E.Keating, R.
Aglionby, H. E.Knox, Col.
Bagot, hon. W.Lacy, H. C.
Bailey, H. J.Lawless, hon. C.
Barrington, Visct.Legh, G. C.
Barrow, W. H.Lennox, Lord A. G.
Bass, M. T.Lennox, Lord H. G.
Bateson, T.Lockhart, A. E.
Beresford, W.Lockhart, W.
Berkeley, hon. G.F.Lowther, H.
Blandford, Marq. ofLygon, hon. Gen.
Booth, Sir R. G.Mackenzie, W. F.
Bramston, T. W.Macnaghten, Sir E.
Bremridge, R.Meagher, T.
Brooke, LordMahon, Visct.
Bunbury, W. M.March, Earl of
Burroughes, H. N.Masterman, J.
Chandos, Marq. ofMatheson, A.
Chatterton, Col.Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Chichester, Lord J. L.Meux, Sir H.
Child, S.Miles, P. W. S.
Cocks, T. S.Moffatt, G.
Codrington, Sir W.Morgan, O.
Conolly, T.Naas, Lord
Corbally, M. E.Napier, J.
Crawford, R. W.Neeld, J.
Cubitt, W.Newdegate, C. N.
Currie, H.O'Ferrall, rt. hon. R.M.
Disraeli, B.Peto, S. M.
Duke, Sir J.Powlett, Lord W.
Duncan, G.Reid, Col.
Duncuft, J.Repton, G. W. J.
East, Sir J. B.Richards, R.
Ellice, E.Sandars, G.
Forbes, W.Seaham, Visct.
Galway, Visct.Smith, J. A.
Gilpin, Col.Smollett, A.
Goddard, A. L.Somerset, Capt.
Granby, Marq. ofSpooner, R.
Granger, T. C.Stuart, H.
Grattan, H.Sullivan, M.
Grogan, E.Taylor, T. E.
Gwyn, H.Thesiger, Sir F.
Halford, Sir H.Thornhill, G.
Hall, Sir B.Trevor, hon. G. R.
Hall, Col.Tyler, Sir G.
Hallewell, E. G.Urquhart, D.
Hamilton, G. A.Vane, Lord H.
Hamilton, Lord C.Verner, Sir W.
Hastie, A.Villiers, hon. F. W. C.
Heald, J.Vivian, J. E.
Herbert, H. A.Vyvyan, Sir R. R.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C.Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Hervey, Lord A.Waddington, D.
Higgins, G. G. O.Waddington, H. S.
Hildyard, T. B. T.Wakley, T.
Hill, Lord E.Welby, G. E.
Hodgson, W. N.Wodehouse, E.
Hope, Sir J.Yorke, hon. E.T.
Jocelyn, Visct.
Johnstone, J.


Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.Baring, T.
Jones, Capt.Anstey, T. C.

List of the NOES.

Adair, R. A. S.French, F.
Anson, hon. Col.Freshfield, J. W.
Armstrong, Sir A.Glyn, G. C.
Bailey, J.Gooch, E. S.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T.Greenall, G.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F.T.Grenfell, C. W.
Bellow, R. M.Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bennet, P.Grey, R.W.
Berkeley, Adm.Grosvenor, Lord R.
Bernal, R.Guest, Sir J.
Blake, M. J.Hallyburton, Lord J. F.
Booker, T. W.Hanmer, Sir J.
Bouverie, hon. E. P.Harris, R.
Boyd, J.Hatchell, rt. hon. J.
Boyle, hon. Col.Hawes, B.
Broadley, H.Headlam, T. E.
Brockman, E.D.Heathcote, Sir G. J.
Brotherton, J.Heneage, E.
Brown, H.Henry, A.
Buller, Sir J. Y.Heywood, J.
Bunbury, E. H.Heyworth, L.
Butler, P. S.Hobhouse, T. B.
Cabbell, B. B.Hodges, T. L.
Campbell, hon. W.Hope, H. T.
Carew, W. H. P.Hotham, Lord
Cayley, E. S.Howard, Lord E.
Cholmeley, Sir M.Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Christopher, R. A.Howard, P. H.
Christy, S.Hudson, G.
Clay, J.Hume, J.
Clay, Sir W.Humphery, Ald.
Clements, hon. C. S.Hutchins, E. J.
Cobden, R.Johnstone, Sir J.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.Kershaw, J.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E.Kildare, Marq. of
Colvile, C. R.Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Cowper, hon. W. F.Langston, J. H.
Craig, Sir W. G.Lawley, hon. B. R.
Crawford, W. S.Lemon, Sir C.
Currie, R.Lewis, G. C.
Davie, Sir H. R. F.Loch, J.
Davies, D. A. S.Lushington, C.
Dawes, E.Mackie, J.
Dawson, hon T. V.M'Gregor, J.
Decdes, W.Mangles, R. D.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C.T.Marshall, J. G.
Divett, E.Martin, J.
Douglas, Sir C. E.Martin, C. W.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.Melgund, Visct.
Duff, J.Milner, W. M. E.
Duncan, Visct.Milnes, R. M.
Duncombe, T.Mitchell, T. A.
Dundas, Adm.Molesworth, Sir W.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.Moncrieff, J.
Dunne, Col.Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Ellis, J.Mulgrave, Earl of
Elliot, hon. J. E.Murphy, F. S.
Evans, Sir De L.Newport, Visct.
Evans, J.Norreys, Lord
Evans, W.Norreys, Sir D. J.
Evelyn, W. J.O'Connor, F.
Ewart, W.Ogle, S. C. H.
Fergus, J.Ord, W.
Ferguson, Col.Osborne, R.
Ferguson, Sir R. A.Owen, Sir J.
FitzPatrick, rt. hon. J.W.Paget, Lord C.
Foley, J. H. H.Palmerston, Visct.
Fordyce, A. D.Parker, J.
Forster, M.Patten, J. W.
Fox, W.J.Pechell, Sir G. B.
Freestun, Col.Pendarves, E. W. W.

Perfect, R.Stansfield, W. R. C.
Pigot, F.Stanton, W. H.
Pilkington, J.Staunton, Sir G. T.
Pinney, W.Strickland, Sir G.
Plowden, W. H. C.Stuart, Lord D.
Ponsonby, hon. C. F. A.Stuart, Lord J.
Power, Dr.Thicknesse, R. A.
Pugh, D.Thompson, Col.
Pusey, P.Thornely, T.
Rawdon, Col.Towneley, J.
Ricardo, O.Traill, G.
Rice, E. R.Trelawny, J. S.
Rich, H.Trevor, hon. T.
Robartes, T. J. A.Tuffnell, rt. hon. H.
Roebuck, J. A.Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Romilly, Col.Vivian, J. H.
Russell, Lord J.Wall, C. B.
Russell, F. C. H.Watkins, Col. L.
Salwey, Col.Wawn, J. T.
Scholefield, W.Westhead, J. P. B.
Scobell, Capt.Wilcox, B. M.
Scrope, G. P.Williams, W.
Seymour, Sir H.Williamson, Sir H.
Seymour, LordWilson, J.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V.Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Smith, J. B.Wood, Sir W. P.
Smyth, J. G.Wyld, J.
Somers, J. P.


Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.Hayter, W. G.
Spearman, H. J.Hill, Lord M.

House in Committee; Mr. Bernal in the Chair.

Clauses 1 to 7 agreed to.

Clause 8.

said: I am desirous of knowing from the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he intends to make any alteration in the Timher Duties. From all parts of the country I have received very strong remonstrances on the suhject. The shipowners of the city of London, whose petition I had the honour to present, give the strongest reasons for not making alterations in the Timber Duties in the manner in which it is proposed to make them. If the Committee will bear with mo for a few moments, I think I can satisfy them that by it a great injury would he inflicted both on the shipping as well as on the colonial interest. It may he remembered, that in 1846, an adjustment was made of the Timber Duties, in order to establish what should be considered as perfect free trade between Canadian and the Baltic interests. The distinctive duties put on had reference to the difference of freight between the Baltic and our North American possessions. And the difficulty in making an adjustment was to allow for the differences arising from the trading between England and those places, and to fix the amount of compensation. The differential duty was, I think, 30s. as regarded the one, and 14s. as to the other. The difference of freight at that time was, if I remember correctly, 27s. or 28s., as compared with 14s. and 15s. These differences in freight formed the only ground for the differential duty, and yet it is now proposed to abolish that compensating difference, and to put the Colonial and Baltic trade on terms, not of relative (as it ought to be), but of abstract equality. This has been urged by the petitioners to whom I have referred, as most unjust; and I must own that to me it seems to be so. I am not, however, prepared with any specific amendment, nor is it my intention to divide the Committee on the clause; but I am most desirous of hearing what the right hon. Gentleman has to say upon the subject. I have no doubt the Chancellor of the Exchequer has himself received many remonstrances on the subject, and he may perhaps be able to state how it is that, notwithstanding these remonstrances, he thinks it right to persevere in his plan for an entire levelling of the duties, and how he can reconcile perfect equality of duty with the arrangement which was on a former occasion thought equitable as between our Colonies and their Baltic competitors. Baltic shippers have now so decided an advantage over ours, that I am informed, by those immediately concerned in the trade, that foreign ships that had been formerly engaged in the Baltic trade, are now chartered to bring timber from Canada, because they can do so at a lower rate of freight than our own. This is, at all events, a subject of great importance, and ought to receive the serious attention of the Government, especially as their plan would seem to be a reversal of the regulations established in 1846, giving a decided advantage to foreigners over our Colonial timber growers. I hope that I shall receive some explanation from the right hon. Gentleman, more satisfactory than any I have yet heard, in or out of this House, on the subject. I am not myself ready with any specific proposition; but the question is undoubtedly one of the greatest importance. I hope, in a short time, to be able to call the attention of this House to the present state of our shipping interest; and, in the subject I shall then bring forward, this portion of our trade will necessarily form a part. I shall then have any opportunity of stating, more at length, some of the reasons which induced me to call the attention of the House to the extreme impolicy and injustice of adopting the course recommended by the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer. At present, however, I can only ask for an explanation from the Government, to which, on behalf of those whose interests I advocate, I conceive I am entitled.

thought he would best consult the wish of the Committee—and he hoped of his right hon. Friend—if he now refrained from entering generally into the question of the navigation laws. When his right hon. Friend brought that question before the House, it would be the duty of himself or of his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade to show why the Government most widely differed from his opinion, and to prove that, so far from the repeal of those laws having been injurious to the shipping interests, they had been benefited by such repeal, and that the country at large had from that measure obtained great benefits. The opinion of the right hon. Gentleman was, no doubt, entitled to great weight. He did not propose, however, to enter into any specific opposition to the present Motion, but merely asked for an explanation of the views of the Government. Now, the Resolution for the reduction of the timber duties having passed through a Committee of the whole House without any opposition being offered to it, he had felt himself authorised to allow the reduction to take effect at once (the parties introducing timber at the reduced duties, of course giving a bond for the payment of the higher ones should the reduction not be ultimately assented to), and he thought it would be a great hardship if the Committee now refused to sanction the reduction, when transactions involving duty to the amount of 100,000l. had been entered into upon the faith that it would take place. He never understood that the Act of 1846 was to be considered a final settlement of the timber duties. He had always been of opinion that, when a further opportunity offered, it would be right and just to reduce, as far as possible, the duties upon that raw material so extensively used by the body of consumers in this country in building, and in manufactures. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Herries) said, that the measure of 1846 was a fair settlement between the colonial and the foreign producer, and therefore ought not to be disturbed. But the fact was, that the import of foreign as compared with colonial woods showed that foreign wood (to use a sporting phrase) had been a little over-weighted; for whereas, if they had been put upon an equality, they might have been expected to increase or fall off in the same degree, the fact was that the importation of foreign timber had considerably fallen off, and that of colonial woods had largely increased. He had with him a circular of one of the largest timber dealers in this city, addressed to the trade, and from which he would read a few words. It appeared that, though of course the producer, if he had a large stock on hand, got a certain benefit at first, yet that upon the whole the consumer was deriving, as nearly as might be, the full benefit of the reduction of duty. Messrs. Churchill and Lewis stated—

"In our market for colonial wood we cannot at present trace any visible effect by the change of foreign duty" [the protecting duty]. "Pine woods having been brought down below the producing rate, and being in a great measure free from the influence of Baltic competition, we think their lowest price will have been seen this spring. We have yet to see what is the capability of increasing the supply of foreign white wood to interfere with the great spruce trade of British America, still inclining to believe that any marked demand in Norway, at Gottenburg, or in Russia, for white-wood deals, would so far augment the shipping price as to leave colonial timber cheaper. It is evident that the reduction of foreign duty will stimulate consumption, and its effect will not be limited to foreign wood, but carry with it a fair share of cheap colonial wood also."
The result, then, of the alteration was, that the consumer had pretty nearly already the full advantage of the reduction of the duty, and that the colonial trade had not suffered by the reduction of the duty on foreign timber; indeed, the two differed considerably, and did not very much compete with one another. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Herries) had stated truly that the benefit of the shipping interest was one consideration which weighed with him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) in making this proposal, though at the same time there were other considerations, such as cheapening the price of buildings; and he had been told by a great builder that the reduction of the price of timber had made already, in building a house, the whole difference of the price of the roof.

said, that the reduction in the price of Baltic timber since the alteration of the duty was 10s., whereas the duty taken off was only 7s. 6d. Consequently the public got more than the full reduction of duty. The import of Canadian timber had rather increased than di- minished since the reduction, for Canadian timber was used for purposes totally different from foreign timber. The latter was chiefly used in situations exposed to the weather, whereas the former was used in the interior of buildings; so that, in fact, the use of the one, so far from restricting, rather promoted, the use of the other. He did not believe the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Herries) represented the majority of the shipping interest in this country, which he (Mr. Mitchell) thought was generally in favour of a reduction of the duty on foreign timber. He believed the right hon. Gentleman put forward the case not of the shipping interest generally, but of a few great shipowners, and that a shipowner in Glasgow, who had made a colossal fortune from building a fleet of ships in Canada, was the principal opponent to the reduction, fearing that if the price of Baltic timber were reduced, ships would be so cheaply built in this country that they would compete in price of construction with those built in Canada. Arrangements had been made upon the faith of the reduction which had taken place, and transactions had been entered into by merchants to an extent involving 100,000l. of revenue: all this had been done on the faith of an unopposed Resolution of the House of Commons. It would therefore be little short of swindling those merchants to follow the course desired by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Herries) and his party. Why did not the right hon. Gentleman oppose the Resolution in the first instance, and not defer his opposition until all these extensive engagements were entered into on the part of the merchants of this country.

must protest against the idea that lion. Gentlemen on that side of the House were sanctioning swindling.

The hon. Gentleman has totally misapplied his harsh language; and as for the great shipbuilder in Glasgow, of whom he speaks, I am not aware that I received any communication whatever from him. The communications to which I have alluded are from Sunderland, Liverpool, and all parts of the country, and not confined to a few places or a few persons. I can only say that there are very respectable witnesses on this side of the question. The right hon. Baronet the Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, has not answered my observations with re- spect to the equality of Baltic and Canadian timber.

said, he had already explained that he did not think colonial and foreign timber were put on a footing of equality by the arrangement of 1846, because the importation of foreign timber had fallen off. He could not think it right to impose duties with the view of countervailing freight in the case of timber from Canada, any more than in the case of coffee from Java, or of sugar from Brazil.

had not to find fault with the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer for reducing the duty on timber, but could not understand why the right hon. Member for Stamford, as a friend to the shipping interest, objected to the reduction. [Mr. HERRIES: Not a bit.] The whole gist of the right hon. Gentleman's argument was that he found fault with the Chancellor of the Exchequer for proposing this reduction. There was one point, however, to which the attention of the Government ought to he directed. Why should vessels built in the Baltic of duty-free timber be allowed, on coming to this country, to have the benefit of the British register? A vessel had arrived at South Shields, which had been built in the Baltic of duty-free timber; but she came here to contend on equal terms with vessels built of duty-paid timber.

said, he thought it was part of the agreement of 1846 that justice should he done to our shipowners and shipwrights. He regretted that a single foreign ship should be allowed to come in under the circumstances which at present existed. Ships were now built in the Baltic, and the moment they arrived here they obtained a British register. He thought the reduction of the duty ought not to be only for the advantage of the foreigner. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Herries) when he intended to bring forward his Motion with respect to the navigation laws, for he thought that a discussion on that subject would be the means of removing many mistakes which existed at the present moment in reference to the operation of those laws. The Government was destroying the coasting trade in consequence of not relieving them from the duties for the support of light-houses, which were so very heavy. He was sorry to say that he could not get the Board of Trade to move on this subject.

Mr. Bernal, I beg to remind the Committee that the agreement with our colonists in 1846 was, that the changes then made should be a final one; but that that principle has been departed from, I infer from the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for he now says that he cannot deny that there is a difference in the freight of Canadian and Baltic timber. I say there has been a departure from the principle laid down in 1846. I believe that in Canada they are debating whether they ought not to impose a high duty on American produce, in consequence of the Americans not having reduced their tariff. I cannot allow this Bill to proceed without entering my protest against the injustice which I think we are inflicting on our colonists.

thought it very undesirable that there should be any doubt as to what was done in 1846. The principle then established was that the law applied to corn should be applied to timber also; that is, that we, the empire of Great Britain and Ireland, should consult our own convenience and advantage, and that exclusively, with reference to imports from foreign countries. From that period the duties on the raw materials of manufactures had been reduced, on silk, cotton, flax, and the like; the duty on glass had been removed. All articles necessary for native manufacture came into this country free. The object was to encourage native industry by placing the raw materials of manufacture within reach of the native manufacturer at the lowest possible price. The duty on one article alone remained, namely, on timber. A great advance was made in the reduction of that duty in 1846, and the reason why it was not then still further reduced was that owing to the nature of the supply of timber which came down the rivers falling into the Baltic, the advantage, if the duties were reduced more rapidly, would go into the pocket of the foreign producer, and not into that of the consumer. He presumed that was also the reason why the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer only now proposed a reduction of 7s. 6d. in the duty. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: Hear, hear!] No doubt, in the first instance, even this reduction would go partly into the pocket of the producer; but that was no argument, in the long run, against the remission of all duties which pressed upon the raw material of our manufactures. At present a ship was the only article that could be imported into this country duty free, while the raw material from which it was manufactured still continued to pay duty, and the shipwrights were thus exposed to a disadvantage which applied to no other manufacture, and one to the removal of which he thought they were called upon to contribute by passing that Bill.

said, that since the Resolution had been adopted in Committee, the scale of duties had been altered so as to suit more fully the convenience of the timber dealers, but the same amount of duty would be raised as he had originally estimated.

would suggest that lancewood poles, which were employed in various delicate parts of different manufactures, and gave rise to a considerable employment of labour, while they paid but a small amount of duty, should partake of the entire remission of duty which had been extended to furniture woods with such good effect.

said, that the subject had only been mentioned to him a few days ago, and he had not had time to consider it; but his present impression was in favour of the retention of the duty, which was only a low one, and did not practically interfere with the use of the article. He would, however, consider the question before the bringing up of the Report.

said, he must protest against the assumption that the maintenance of the present Timber Duties would benefit the agricultural interest. Native timber was never so unsaleable; and it was remarkable that while almost every other article had risen in price during the last 100 years, native timber had fallen considerably.

said, that the object of the Motion of which he had given notice, and to which the lion. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had adverted, was not to obtain the re-enactment of the Navigation Laws, but to procure some relief for the interest which he conceived had been injured by their repeal.

Clause agreed to; as well as the Preamble.

House resumed.

Bill reported as amended.

Inhabited House Duty Bill

Order for Committee read; Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."

* said: The hon. Gentleman the Member for Bridport (Mr. Mitchell) has very unexpectedly made a very unfair attack upon me. The hon. Gentleman seems to suppose that it is not open to us to impugn the authority of a mere Vote of this House; that if once its opinion is expressed in that manner—[Mr. MITCHELL: Without opposition.]—Without opposition—I am not aware that the qualification of the hon. Member makes any difference in the question he raises; or in the constitutional principle at stake. Does the hon. Gentleman mean to maintain that a vote of this House is equivalent to an Act of Parliament? It has always been assumed that when a Ministry proposed to this House to sanction by a mere Vote an alteration in the tariff, it did so under circumstances so well matured and considered, that the country might usually assume that the Vote thus called for would afterwards be ratified in the form of a Bill. No doubt could in general be entertained that such an anticipation would be justified. Still it never has been held for an instant that a Vote of this House on a Customs question was equal to a solemn decision by an Act of the Legislature. What, then, has happened this Session? What the circumstances that have occurred? We have assented to certain alterations in the tariff under quite different circumstances from those under which the Bill to sanction those alterations is now brought before the House. The circumstances of the revenue have greatly changed between the one period and the other. The condition of the revenue to a certain degree is now precarious, and the surplus which was announced by the Minister at the commencement of the Session, and which he distributed in the mode which seemed best to him—one of these being the remission of the Timber Duties referred to by the hon. Gentleman—has become essentially provisional. In this state of affairs, then, I thought I was not taking an unusual course, but, on the contrary, one in accordance with the custom of this House, before we were prorogued, and sent back to our constituents, if I endeavoured that we should clearly understand our financial position. That has always been considered a subject on which it was most important that we should possess the most clear conceptions, and one peculiarly the care of the House of Commons. If we return to our constituents now, we may give them, as regards the exercise of our functions in many important matters, a clear, and, upon the whole, I hope, a satisfactory report. When the House met it was announced to us that one important interest in the country was suffering great distress. As to the causes of that distress, Gentlemen might be divided; but no doubt was entertained of the fact, or of the expediency of discussion. And no one can deny that it has been discussed amply this Session, and that the House by considerable numbers on both sides, by their speeches or their votes, have shown the constituencies of the country that it has taken pains to arrive at a conclusion on the subject. So, also, with that all interesting subject, the Papal Aggression. However contrary may be our opinions, there is no doubt that we have pursued a course which has conducted us to a result which the country can understand. Government, for instance, has brought in a Bill which they considered an efficient Bill, but which, on this side of the House, was not considered to be an efficient Bill; and the united efforts of the two parties in the House, even if they have not realised all that we expected, have at least produced a piece of legislation which is clear in its object, and definite in the results it wishes to attain. But if you come to the question of finance, I defy any Member to go back to his constituents and tell them clearly what is the condition of our finances—whether we have a surplus, or whether we have not a surplus; whether the sources of our revenue are permanent, or whether they are fleeting; whether they are provisional, and, if provisional, whether they are provided for a time so brief that, before another year shall have elapsed, the principal features of our financial system may be changed. On this topic, then—the revenue of the country, which depends upon the taxation of the subject—we are not in a position at the present moment to speak with that satisfactory certainty which our constituents have a right to expect from us. Sir, it is with this view of the case that I have thought it my duty to endeavour to induce the House of Commons to consider the 'present state of the finances of the country—to enter into a discussion limited to that interesting and important topic, admitting no extraneous matter; and indeed the subject is one which requires no extraneous matter to command the attention of the House. It is a discussion which I hope may be conducted in a calm, impartial, and unimpassioned spirit. I at least on my part have no meaning in the observations which I shall with all deference place before the House, other than that which I have attempted to express in the Resolutions which I have laid on the table. I shall certainly set no example of introducing into this discussion any other considerations than those which are essentially financial; and I am persuaded, if the debate be conducted in that spirit, that, whatever may be the conclusion we arrive at, the debate will be one which will not discredit the House, but tend to satisfy the public. It is scarcely necessary for me to recall to the memory of the House the financial statement of the Minister made early this Session. The House was congratulated on the advantage of having a financial statement made early in February, but which by the bye, can scarcely be said to be completed at the end of June. On that occasion the Chancellor of the Exchequer calculated that a surplus of about 2,000,000l. sterling was at his disposition; and he stated to the House several remissions of taxation, which, assisted by that surplus, irrespective of maintaining a fund for the reduction of the public debt, he contemplated to accomplish. That surplus, I need not remind the House, was founded on the assumption that the House of Commons would renew the expiring tax upon income. Upon the assumption that that renewal would take place, and for no inconsiderable time, not merely for a term of three years, but until certain results were obtained, which the most sanguine cannot suppose are of easy or immediate accomplishment—upon the assumption of that law being thus renewed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer found himself in possession of this surplus. Now, I would beg the attention of the House—for the consideration is important—to the character of the tax the renewal of which was the basis of the financial statement of the Minister. Considerable controversy has often taken place as to the intentions of the eminent Minister who first reintroduced the tax upon property and income into our modern financial system—considerable controversy as to the real intentions of Sir Robert Peel—whether in fact it was his intention originally that the tax upon income should be a temporary tax, or whether that was only a parliamentary pretence under which he wished to introduce a permanent feature of our financial system. Now, I wish to state my belief, and to adduce the reason for that belief, that the object of Sir Robert Peel in the introduction of the tax upon income was a temporary object, and I form that opinion upon this sole, but to me perfectly satisfactory ground, that I cannot believe that a financier so able and so experienced, if he had contemplated that his law should be a permanent law, would have framed it upon a principle which I hope I may induce the House to believe is one much to be deprecated. I am not about to entrap the House into a barren discussion as to the comparative merits of direct and indirect taxation. In these days we are too apt perhaps to indulge in such discussions. I feel persuaded myself that if you have to raise in a country like England a revenue of the amount which we at present do raise, it would be quite impossible to obtain such results by adhering strictly to any particular mode of taxation. I feel convinced that the greater the number, the more various the means of supply, the greater will be the facility of raising the revenue; and, far from laying down any pedantic rule to be adhered to as to one mode of raising taxes in preference to another, all that I would uphold as the golden rule of all Chancellors of the Exchequer is, to beware that no tax, whatever form it may take, whether that of a customs duty, an excise duty, or a direct impost, should in its nature be excessive. But although I will not enter into a discussion as to the comparative merits of direct or indirect taxation, of this I feel persuaded, and I can hardly doubt that a majority of this House will sanction the proposition, that if direct taxation is to form a considerable part, or even a more considerable part, of our financial system, it is of the utmost importance that the principle of that direct taxation should be a right one. Now, I cannot for a moment concede that the principle of direct taxation should be other than the principle of indirect taxation. I am of opinion, as I think the highest authorities are of opinion, that direct taxation should be as general, not to say as universal, as indirect taxation. And, believing that that must have been the opinion of Sir Robert Peel, the very fact that he established his tax upon income on so narrow a basis, that he established exemptions on so considerable a scale, convinces me that in his use of that impost he had no other than a temporary object—that he had no other object than that which he expressed in this House, and that in its original proposition, and in the renewal, for which, at its original proposition, he prepared the House and the country, he was perfectly justified in adopting it with that temporary object in view. I hardly know whether it is necessary, or whether on this occasion I am justified in even touching upon the consequences of adopting any other principle in the application of direct taxation. In fact, if you maintain that the essence of direct taxation is, that it should be limited to a class, that it should be founded upon large exemptions, your impost is not so much a direct tax as a forced contribution. It is a tax upon capital. It is a constant invasion of the fund which is employing labour, and if carried to any excess, or continued for any length of time, its inevitable consequences must be the impoverishment and misery of the community. I look, then, upon the policy which was pursued by Sir Robert Peel with respect to the income tax, when he introduced it, and when, in accordance with the first speech he made on the subject, he three years after continued it, to have been perfectly justifiable, because his object being a temporary object, he had then only to consider the mode of attaining his temporary purpose in a manner the most easy and the most feasible. But the present Ministry, in making a tax upon income the basis of their finance, were not actuated by the same motives as Sir Robert Peel, and did not contemplate the same use of the instrument which they introduce to our notice. With a candour which I cannot too much praise, and which I fully acknowledge, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he asked for a continuance of the income tax for three years, never for a moment intimated that his view of that tax was, that it was a temporary one. Had the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed the renewal of the tax for three years for the fourth time, I still doubt whether he would have been justified in framing a large direct impost, which had continued for a term much longer than was contemplated by its originator, and which was again to be continued for a considerable, though a definite, term—I doubt whether he would have been justified, even under these circumstances, in framing his tax upon income on the limit- ed basis on which he did frame it. But when the Minister of Finance asks us to renew the tax upon income for the fourth time for another three years, and, with a frankness which I have acknowledged, informs us at the same time that he cannot contemplate the term when we shall be able to carry on our financial arrangements without the aid of such an impost, then I contend that that was the period when the Minister should have established the just principle upon which such an amount of direct taxation could alone justifiably be applied to the property and the industry of this country. I may be told, as I have been told since that day, that there was no acknowledgment on the part of the Government that the income tax was to be a perpetual tax. But I speak in the memory of Gentlemen on both sides of the House, and I am sure they will justify my statement, when I recall to their recollection the catalogue of fiscal achievements which the Chancellor of the Exchequer indulged in, which he enumerated to an amazed audience, and the completion of which alone was indicated as the term when this country could be free from this impost. Sir, I have great confidence in the vitality of the existing Government. The dangers which they have successfully encountered, the catastrophes which they have evaded, and the crises which they have baffled—all indicate the possession, if not of immortal, yet of very enduring qualities. And I can assure the noble Lord and his Colleagues, though it is my duty to sit on this side of the table, that I fully recognise their personal claims to the post which they occupy. But, sanguine as may be their own views as to the term of their Administration, I do not think that even the Chancellor of the Exchequer could have contemplated—prolonged as may be his tenure of office—that it would ever be his fortune to achieve all those objects, the accomplishment of which he has laid down and announced to the country as the condition of terminating the tax on property and income as it is now-framed. Well, Sir, I think I may then fairly conclude that the tax, as now framed, is a permanent feature in the financial scheme of Her Majesty's Ministers. Now I beg the House to observe, that in anything I have said I am making no objection to a tax on property and income. What I am directing the attention of the House to is this—and I think it of the utmost importance—that if direct taxation is to form a more considerable portion of our financial system for the future than it has heretofore done, that direct taxation should be founded on the true principle, and not upon the false one; upon the principle which, in the long run, will be advantageous to the community, and not upon one which, if it prevail, will in my opinion, be most pernicious; that the principle which we apply to direct taxation shall virtually be the same as that which we apply to indirect, and that in its application we should attempt to make it general, not to say universal. That is the only point that I am now enforcing upon the attention, and, I hope, the conviction, of the House. It will be observed, then, as far as the financial statement of the Minister this year is concerned, as far as we have as yet submitted it to our analysis, that it was founded upon a false basis; that it assumed that the income tax, as at present framed, should be permanent; and upon the assumption of its permanence, or, at any rate, its prolonged continuance, the surplus estimated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer depended. I shall now consider the measures which the Chancellor of the Exchequer brought forward, and which were to be dealt with by the disposition of this assumed surplus—a surplus assumed upon the continuance of a tax false, dangerous, and pernicious in its principle, as every tax intending direct impost to a large amount, and the principle of which is not of general application, I maintain is. The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed three measures of considerable importance, and one or two of minor degree. The first in rank was, no doubt, a proposition for the repeal of the window tax. It is unnecessary for me to dwell upon this point. The objections to the window duty, as it then existed, were financial, and they were social, or, as is the fashion to style them, sanitary. If the financial oppression of the window tax was the great reason for its remission, it is to be regretted that the Minister should have attempted only partially to remit it. In that case, it would have been more advantageous, had it been possible, that the tax should be simply and completely remitted. The fashion has always subsisted, and the present Government have followed it in the division of a surplus, very often to fritter away its virtue by apportioning a part to various interests of the community. Now, in my opinion, as a general principle, it is much wiser, if you have a surplus, to do something that is efficient—to discover what interest is most suffering, what tax most oppressive, the remission of what duty would give the most elasticity to trade, or add most to the comfort and the happiness of the community, than to hold as a matter of course, that the commercial class, the agricultural class, the inhabitant of the town, and the shipbuilder, should each have his share; when it is very possible that of these four classes, three may require no aid; and when it is very possible also, that, by concentrating your resources upon one object of relief, you may afford substantial succour. But I will not dwell upon this point—nor upon the social reason which was urged in favour of a remission of the window duty, except to observe that as far as sanitary objects were concerned, I think they might have been attained without any loss of revenue. The reason that I do not dwell upon the point at all is, that I do not intend, as I stated on the 11th of April, when it was my duty to solicit the attention of the House to a discussion similar to the present—that I do not intend at all to dispute the policy of the repeal of the window tax. I accept that as a realised result. I think after all that has passed, considering the unpopularity of the tax—considering its injurious character—and considering all that has occurred in this House with respect to it, that nothing could be more inexpedient or more impolitic than to disturb that remission; and as far as the revenue derived from the tax upon windows is concerned, I consider it blotted out from the Exchequer. I will therefore at once proceed to the proposition embodied in the Bill before us—namely, a duty upon houses. Now, I ask the House to apply that sound principle of finance which, in my opinion, ought to be one of our cardinal principles of finance—namely, that direct taxation should be as general as indirect taxation, to the measure which is now before the consideration of the House. I ask them to apply that searching principle to the Bill which has been introduced by the Government for imposing a tax upon houses. Sir, that fatal characteristic of the income tax, which was perfectly justifiable when introduced for a temporary purpose by Sir Robert Peel, but infinitely to be deprecated when established for a permanent purpose by the present Government—namely, direct taxation, established on a very limited basis, and partaking in no way of a general character, appears in an aggravated form in the house duty. The Government had a surplus at their command with which they might have completely and efficiently dealt, had it been necessary, with the window tax. They had a surplus which would have allowed them to remit the window tax, if they considered the remission of that tax to be a paramount necessity. But, practically, they do not remit the window tax. They propose rather a commutation—not a remission, and their scheme has this fatal fault, that the commutation is only a partial commutation. Complete remission, or complete commutation—these are the two principles which a financial Minister should pursue. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer not having, I will not say the moral courage, but the financial courage, completely to remit the tax on windows, which he ought to have done, if he felt the necessity of doing it, takes one of the most inestimable weapons in the armoury of a financial Minister, and uses it for the most meagre and the meanest purpose. A house duty is a duty as just in principle as can well be conceived, and one which every person who reflects upon the present position of our financial resources must have always looked to as a most valuable aid. But what does the Minister accomplish by this valuable instrument? He does not even effect a complete remission of the window duties. He gives you imperfect remission and imperfect commutation, and he wastes those great resources which are offered him by a house tax for a most limited, and, comparatively speaking, worthless result. And in doing this he not only does not obtain a complete compensation for the revenue remitted, but he violates that important principle which at no period more than the present ought to be cherished by the House of Commons—the right principle upon which direct taxation should be applied. There were other measures brought forward by the Minister on that occasion. A diminution was proposed of the tax upon timber, which we have recently been discussing in Committee, and also of the duty upon coffee. With the permission of the House I will address myself briefly to these subjects. I am not one of those who think that there is any abstract excellence in a Customs duty—I am not one of those who think that, as a rigid rule, or even as a general rule, you should remit an Excise duty in preference to a Customs duty. All that I would do when the remission of taxation was concerned, would be, to ascertain which duty is most oppressive to the people, and most injurious to their comfort and their industry; and whether I found that to be a Customs duty or an Excise duty, that is the impost upon which I would lay my finger. Therefore I do not object to these propositions of remission on the part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer because they are Customs duties. Assuming that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could prove to me that the remission of these Customs duties would more benefit the subject—would give a greater impulse to trade—would more tend to the advantage of the community than the remission of an Excise duty, or any direct tax, I should prefer remitting the Customs duties; but my great objection to the remission at present of these two duties—though I shall not now dwell upon this head—is that I do not think we are justified by the state of our revenue to remit any tax, whatever form it may take, and whether it be a Customs duty or an Excise duty; because I apprehend that our ability to do that depends upon the fact of the existence of a real surplus or not. But I must notice the plea upon which the remission of the timber duty has been urged by the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman says we owe the remission of the timber duty mainly and principally to the builders of ships in this country. Well, I think that no one will dispute the hardships to which the British shipbuilder is now subjected; but a partial remission of the duty on timber does not at all compensate the builder of ships in this country for the competition to which you now expose him. You are giving up revenue in this case without obtaining the result which you wish to achieve. Now if you were to allow the builder of ships in these isles to build in bond, as has before been proposed; if you permitted him to use freely all the articles that are necessary to the construction of a ship in England, and pay no duty upon them, then you would put him in fair competition with the foreigner who brings a ship duty-free to this country, whilst the British builder is building his ship subject to a variety of duties. That is an arrangement which you ought to have made when you repealed the navigation laws. When you did that, you ought to have permitted the British shipbuilder to build in bond; then he would have been placed in a position which I deny that the proposal of the Minister, as far as the British ship- builder is concerned, will tend to place him. There were other propositions in this Budget. There were propositions which were intended for the relief of the distressed agricultural interest, and I shall not dwell upon them. They are already familiar to the House. Whatever was their value it is unnecessary for me to calculate, because no sooner were they offered than they were withdrawn. But perhaps the House will permit me to make one observation on the position of the agricultural interest with reference to the remission of taxation. I ventured to say just now that in the remission of a tax, whatever form it might assume, all that I recognised as the valid reason for its repeal or remission was, that it should be the one which the Minister of Finance thought, on the whole, to be the most injurious to the community. That, I think, ought to be the first principle which should guide him in the selection of taxes for remission. Sir, I think there is another rule which ought also to influence a Minister of Finance, who is in the happy possession of a surplus. I think, if there be a particular interest in the country which is subject to great difficulty, is experiencing great distress, and incurring a long and continued depression, that it is the duty of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider the state of that interest, and to see whether the remission of any tax would tend to relieve it. Now the House will recollect that at the commencement of the year we were informed, by the Speech from the Throne, that a very important interest was in a state of great depression, and of continued depression. The House will recollect that shortly after, the Minister proposed measures, the tendency of which was announced by him to relieve that distressed interest; and without requesting the House to give an opinion now upon a question, to which I refer only in illustration of the financial course taken by the Government this year, and not with any view to obtain an opinion upon the subject from either side of the House, I ask the House to consider the position of the agricultural interest now with reference to the question of remission of taxation. By certain laws—the policy or impolicy of which forms no part of our discussion to-night—we have agreed to place the cultivators of the soil of this country in complete competition with the cultivators of the soils of all other countries. Now, is it not obvi- ous that it one of the first duties of the Government in remitting taxation, to ascertain whether they cannot diminish the cost of production to the British farmer so situated? I ask the House to concede no more. That was the first duty of a financial Minister, who had counselled his Sovereign to announce from the Throne that there was only one interest in the country, and that a most important one, in a state of continued distress. I am not now asking the House to decide whether it was in the power of the Minister or not to do this; hut I say it was the duty of the Minister to consider whether, in the remission of taxation he was enabled to propose, it was in his power to reduce the cost of production to the cultivator of the British soil. It was the opinion of myself and of my friends who supported me that it was in the power of the Government thus to diminish the cost of production; it was our belief that there was a pressure of taxation upon the cultivator of the soil, which was not shared by the community, and though there might be a difference of opinion as to the degree of that pressure, no Gentleman in the House will deny the fact that the cultivator of the soil belongs to a class in this country which pays taxes to which the community at large is not subject. Following the second rule which I think should guide the Minister of Finance in the appropriation of a surplus—the first being that he should remit the tax most oppressive to the community; and the second, that he should remit that tax which presses most upon any suffering class—I called upon the Ministry to consider whether it was not in their power to accomplish that result. In doing so, as I do to-night, I interfered in no manner with that complete remission of the window duty, which I consider to be a realised result, and one which no Government can disturb. I merely urged that the cost of production should be diminished to the cultivator of the soil, and believing that by a wise appropriation of our resources that diminution of cost might be materially assisted, I suggested to the Government several propositions which in a less or greater degree would, in my opinion, have effected that object. In doing so I pursued, with the concurrence of my friends, the course I had previously adopted; but I confess I had other objects in so doing than merely supporting measures which tended to diminish the cost of production to the British farmer. I know that in matters of finance it is not merely pounds, shillings, and pence that are always to be calculated, but that the feelings of the people, or of a great class of the community, must he considered in the remission of taxation; and I was profoundly convinced that at that time, as now, a demonstration on the part of this House of sympathy with the cultivator of the soil—an expression of a desire to assist him in his terrible struggle—a resolution by a vote of this House to aid him in his effort to lessen the expense of cultivation, was a course the most politic, and tending, whether a large or small measure were adopted—tending to allay asperities, to soften animosities, and terminate that conflict between the rival industries of the country which are so much to be deprecated, and which in my belief have already endangered the institutions of the country. Influenced by these views, a Minister might have taken the surplus announced at the beginning of the Session, and, dealing with that portion of the poor-law funds which is not subject to the control of local administration, he might have brought forward an extensive measure of relief, which might have contributed to aid the finances of the farmer, and would have at the same time assured him that this House, sympathising with his sufferings, were anxious to adapt his position to the altered circumstances in which their legislation had placed him. That course was not pursued by the Government. I deeply regretted it. I felt it to be my duty to invite their attention to what I considered their duty; but, though I was supported by nearly a moiety of the House, I was unsuccessful. And now I have brought the financial career of the Government down to the commencement of the month of April. And here, perhaps, I may be permitted to make one observation with respect to the Motions I have occasionally made, with the object of assisting the British farmer to meet his severe trial. That object I had always acknowledged to be twofold—namely, not only to obtain for him some relief from the pressure of taxation, but also to show to him that there was in this House a salutary sympathy with his distressed position. The hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Pusey) has lately made some comments upon my parliamentary career, which would have been less inconvenient, and certainly not less ingenuous, if they had been made here, and in my presence. The hon. Gentleman is of opinion that the Motions which I have brought forward were futile Motions; and, secondly, that in bringing them forward, the Mover of them was insincere. These are very harsh opinions. It is possible that the Motions which I have brought forward with the twofold object I have mentioned, may have been futile; but at any rate Motions that have been supported by a large party in the House of Commons, have upon their surface primâ facie symptoms of not being considered altogether inefficient. It is possible that a Member who brings forward a Motion may be insincere, but it is difficult to penetrate the bosom of any man. We should rather give him credit for motives more natural, more obvious, and more charitable. I may have been mistaken, and not insincere; my reason may have been misled, vanity may have misguided me; I may have been a foolish man or a vain man; it is better to think that, than that I should he an insincere man. At any rate my motives under the circumstances, may remain a question of controversy. But what are we to say of a Member of Parliament who, when Motions are brought forward which he believes to be futile, by a Gentleman who he is convinced is insincere, omits no opportunity of following him into the same lobby, and supporting him by his suffrage? Why, I might turn round on the hon. Member for Berkshire, and there is scarcely an epithet of vituperation—scarcely a phrase of invective, that, under such circumstances, I should not be justified in lavishing upon him. But time has taught me, as it has taught most of us, not to judge too harshly of human nature; we all know that men are actuated, not only by mixed motives, but often by confused ones, and that it is very possible for a man to have considerable abilities, to have received a careful culture, to possess many reputable and some amiable qualities, and yet to be gifted with such an uncouth, and blundering organisation, that he is perpetually doing that which he does not intend, and saying and writing that which he does not mean. And that is the charitable view which I take of the hon. Member for Berkshire. But, Sir, about this time a considerable event occurred. I have analysed the measures brought forward by the Government under their various heads, measures founded upon an assumed surplus produced by a large measure of direct taxation, of which the principle was unjust and pernicious. I have shown you how the window duty was repealed, and nobody wishes to disturb that repeal. I have noticed the two measures to reduce the import duties. I have reminded you of the measures that were brought forward to relieve the distressed agriculturists. I have reminded you that when Ministers, after an agitated epoch to which I wish only to allude, reconstructed their Budget, and discarded, in a manner not remarkable for courtesy or kindness, the claims of the agricultural body, I called upon the House to declare their opinion upon that subject, that, though I was supported by nearly a moiety of its Members, I was not successful in obtaining the object we proposed to ourselves. And here, Sir, I, for one, was prepared to make no further objection to the Budget of the Minister. I was satisfied with fulfilling what I considered a public duty, and from that moment I was resolved, as far as I was concerned, that the measures which the Minister brought forward, and of which I had questioned and challenged the propriety, should not receive any further opposition. But what disturbed the serenity of the financial firmament? Nothing from this side of the House. An hon. Gentleman opposite—a great ornament of this House, one of its most valuable Members, the father of the House—for I believe he is looked upon by most of us in a paternal light—a Gentleman whom I may fairly describe as being the most constant and consistent supporter of the Whig Government—who, though he sometimes chides them, chides them in a kindly spirit, and though he sometimes castigates them, castigates them with affectionate remorse—a Gentleman, who, if you take a comprehensive view of his career, has always stepped forward at the right moment to extricate a not sufficiently grateful Government from the impending catastrophe—this most distinguished supporter of the Whig party (Mr. Hume) brought forward a Motion to limit the income tax, which was to have been continued for a renewed term of three years, to one year only; and intimated, in a manner which has necessarily bound the House, that his object in so doing was to submit that tax to a Parliamentary investigation of the most searching character, with the view of terminating those inequalities, those frauds, and those vexations, which have been believed by every one to be irremediable. What happened? That Motion was carried. The basis upon which the surplus of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was raised fell from under the superstructure; the fairy palace vanished in a night. That was no ordinary loss to the Chancellor of the Exchequer—that was not merely a loss of the income tax for three years, though that was a result which a Finance Minister must deeply deplore, but it was, regarding the schemes of the right hon. Gentleman, a loss of a permanent income tax. It was not merely a three years' tenure of the tax; but it was the permanent future of the Financial Minister that was taken from him—it was the foundation on which was raised, not merely the present superstructure, but on which, year after year, he was to build up all those elevations which were to have formed the great features of our renovated and reconstructed financial system. It is impossible to over-rate the importance of that Vote—impossible to deny that from the moment that it passed the financial position of this country became uncertain and precarious. I do not blame the noble Lord and his Colleagues for accepting that Vote, with its consequences. From this side no taunt arose which intimated to the noble Lord that he ought to have resigned the power which was not strong enough to enforce his policy. I think the noble Lord and his Colleagues acted in a manly and honourable manner in not resigning office. Nay, more, that they acted in a dutiful and loyal manner in the peculiar circumstances in which the earlier events of the Session had placed them with respect to the tenure of office. In retaining their posts, they fulfilled that duty, and not in an ungraceful manner. But whilst I am willing to make that concession to Her Majesty's Ministers, I cannot agree that their conduct was equally to be commended in retaining not only their places, but the financial measures which they had brought forward with prospects so different from those in which they now found themselves. My opinion is that Ministers, feeling they were not justified in retiring, should at the same time have announced to their eminent supporter who proposed that Motion, that he and his Friends must take its consequences in the withdrawal of the financial propositions which had been founded on the assumed continuance of the tax, and which were to be furnished by the surplus which had now only an imaginary existence. I do not think I am taking an extravagant or irrational view of the duty of the Government under such circumstances. And it appeared to me, as far as I can observe the human nature on the other side of the table, that the noble Lord was animated at the time by feelings of a not very contrary character. There was a species of delay in the advancement of the financial measures of the Government; they never appeared in the paper; or, if they did, they were never noticed; not a single stage did they make of progress; and it was generally understood—I do not speak of rumours out of doors, or of those confidential communications which are made in doors—but it was generally understood—perhaps it was a public conviction arising from natural views of the situation of Ministers, and of their duty to the country—but there was a general impression that the financial measures of the Government were withdrawn. How many Cabinet Councils were held, I would not venture to state; but this I know, a remarkable scene occurred in this House. One of the most distinguished metropolitan Members, who seemed to share in this conviction, rose in his place and demanded some information from the noble Lord as to the intentions of the Government. He wanted to know whether the window tax was really to be repealed or not; and the answer of the noble Lord was extremely unsatisfactory. The inquiry was again repeated another night, and in a tone of menace; and the noble Lord, turning his back upon us, made a confidential communication which appeared to be of a deprecatory character. The long and the short of it is, the noble Lord was hustled by a Finsbury mob—in Saffron-hill, or some place of that character; and the pocket of the Prime Minister was relieved of the public surplus. After a fortnight's friendly interpellations, the noble Lord at last screwed up his courage to proceed with his measures of remission, which were to be furnished from a moonshine surplus—founded on an imaginary impost. I am now arrived at that point at which I would ask the House what is the most prudent course that, under these circumstances, we should pursue? The fund from which the surplus that was to be distributed was derived, virtually no longer exists. I would ask the House calmly and dispassionately to consider this point. What is the prospect or probability of the income tax being renewed at the next meeting of Parliament? It is an awkward and a disagreeable question. But it is a question which I must beg this House calmly to consider to-night. I am a mem- ber of the Committee which is to inquire into the income tax. I am a member of it in deference to the feelings of the House, and against my own inclination. I would rather have seen a more efficient member on it than myself. Being a member, however, of the Committee, let it not be supposed that I am giving the opinion of that Committee in what I now state. We are sedulously pursuing our course of inquiry, but that has not led us as yet to consider the points to which I alluded. I speak just the same as if I was not a member of that Committee, or as if that Committee had not been appointed. There is one reason among many which I confess weighs much with me, and even convinces me that the tax upon income as at present framed will not be renewed by the House. I will mention it. I find a universal admission that as at present framed that tax is an unequal tax, leads to fraud—is rife with vexatious and inquisitorial proceedings—and that it is stamped by features repugnant to the habits and feelings of Englishmen. Everybody agrees in that. Tory, Whig, Liberal, Conservative, or Radical, all admit those to be the features of the income tax. But there is also another opinion rife. Every man of authority upon financial subjects, all those most competent to guide opinion in this respect, universally and without exception agree to another point, and that is, that those odious features of the tax cannot by any means be removed or modified. He must be shortsighted indeed who can hesitate as to the consequences of such an opinion upon human conduct—who can believe that a tax with such odious qualities which the highest authorities tell you are irremediable, can be invested with that enduring character which appears to be formed of it by that ready reckoner the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But that, though a sufficient, is not the only reason that forces me to this conclusion. I see among the great lights of science—among those whose writings will ultimately guide public opinion on the subject, an opinion gaining ground every day that the principle of direct taxation cannot be different from the principle of indirect taxation—that they must both be equally general. Of course I speak only of permanent taxes, and not of those imposed merely to meet an emergency, like the income tax of Sir Robert Peel. I ask then the House to consider, assuming that when Parliament next meets it will not consent to grant the income tax as at present framed, and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer's present remissions of taxation are carried, and there will be in consequence a deficiency of 5,000,000l. or 6,000,000l. (I say nothing of the Kaffir war), what are the prospects for meeting that probable, or possible, deficiency? There are only two modes, and though they may act with blended influence, analyse those methods and they will resolve themselves into reduction of expenditure or increase of taxation. Not one word shall fall from me to depreciate the efforts of any hon. Gentleman to diminish taxation, though the results may be comparatively slight. A diminution of expenditure which amounts only to 100 or 200,000l, is not to be despised in a country which can never find money enough to build a national gallery. Nevertheless when we have to deal with a deficiency of millions, I must agree with the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden) that no considerable reduction of expenditure can be effected in this country unless you touch our military armaments; and the House must therefore consider what probability or possibility there is of such a course. I will not now say one word against the theory of perpetual peace. I will only make one remark. As long as I find that the strongest positions are in the possession of the weakest Powers; that the richest territories in the world owe their allegiance to those least qualified to defend them; I see the elements of disturbance, which only the most sanguine can affect to despise, and though you may call the process, in the enlightened language of the present day "annexation," and not conquest, it is a process which I feel must begin with force, must be repelled by force, and must ultimately be settled by force. But to dismiss these general views. I ask the House to consider the general state of Europe at present, and say whether any Minister of this country can be asked with any face of reason now, or at the commencement of next year, to reduce our military armaments. What is the state of the Continent? You have one of the leading nations of the world, with a vast population, a most spirited and restless people, in the heart of Europe, who have acknowledged that they have no constitution—who, apparently, have not in their country any of the elements of government—who, whatever be their powers of self-control, no one will for a moment pretend are not at this moment in a position the most perilous that 30,000,000 or 40,000,000 of men ever yet found themselves. Could even the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Hume) tell them that there was less chance of a disturbance now than for some years back? Certainly if he makes a Motion to that effect, he will not be as successful as when he limited the income tax to one year. And you, whether he be right or wrong, looking to what is possible and probable, will not meet a deficiency of revenue by a diminution of military expenditure. Every man must feel that that is not the mode in which the deficiency will be met. Then it must be met by increased taxation, and in ten months' time we shall in all probability be called on to supply the financial deficiency by increased taxation. In such circumstances, then, could there be a more unwise; a more impolitic, a more foolish act, than now to be taking off 2,000,000l. of taxes, which no one pretends press with any great severity on the subject, of which the collection is effected with comparative facility, and which are more easily borne than any corresponding amount of taxation which might be granted in their stead? But I am bound to put another view of our position before the consideration of the House, if I may still presume to trespass on their attention. It is a view which, I think, deserves our gravest consideration. If you have a deficiency, and if you are called on—with the views which I have indicated as to direct taxation—to consider the principle on which our financial system should be established, is it not of the utmost importance that we should come to that consideration with plenty of time, in a tranquil mood, and not urged by matters of pressing public interest? But what prospect awaits the House when it meets next February? What part is the noble Lord prepared to take? The noble Lord is not satisfied with financial embarrassment—he is not satisfied with a possible deficiency of 5,000,000l. or 6,000,000l.—he is not satisfied that we are to be called on to settle the principle on which the revenue should be raised to supply that deficiency, but chooses that tranquil and undisturbed hour to propose a new reform of the House of Commons. Shall I be told to-night that, like the surplus, the New Reform Bill is conditional? Hardly that. Her Majesty's Government are pledged—mind you, pledged—to introduce a very extensive measure of Parliamentary reform. To such a mea- sure they are pledged in the most formal manner. Need I recall to the memory of the House the language used by a Cabinet Minister as the organ of his Colleagues on the second reading of the Bill introduced by the hon. Member for East Surrey, when a formal announcement was made by the Government in order that all similar discussions might be terminated for this Session? I am sure the hon. Member for Montrose and his friends cannot have forgotten that announcement of the Secretary at War; and I am quite as certain that the hon. Member and his friends mean to hold the Government to its engagement. The Motion of the hon. Member for East Surrey, though itself of a very extensive character, did not satisfy Ministers. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War met it by questioning the utility of so partial and limited a proposal. Ministers have deliberated well on this question, said the right hon. Gentleman; the Prime Minister has before this given you hints, but as you press me, I tell you our measure will be comprehensive, and not partial and limited like yours. Such was the language of the Secretary at War. Ministers are pledged to deal with the subject in all its ramifications—they are pledged to bring forward a complete and comprehensive measure, and to financial embarassment the noble Lord proposes to add political experiment, and all to be encountered in the first week of February next. Surely, Sir, with such a prospect, it would be just as well to keep hold of 1,800,000l. of revenue if we can without disappointing what I acknowledge to be the legitimate expectations of the community with respect to the remission of the window tax, which, so far from questioning, is a part of those measures I wish to recommend for the adoption of Her Majesty's Government. Sir, the Resolutions which I am about to place in your hands do not pledge the House to more than a salutary principle in our financial arrangements, which would effect those changes in our taxation that may be deemed advisable, with no material sacrifice of public income. I feel, however, that I ought not to shrink from more explicitly expressing the course which we wish to see, under the circumstances, Her Majesty's Ministers pursue. We are willing in the first place to support them in a complete repeal of the tax upon windows. We do not wish in any way to interfere with that arrangement—an arrangement, the policy of which I am not here at pre- sent to challenge. But, Sir, with regard to the measure before us, which is virtually a measure of partial compensation for the loss of revenue thus incurred, we wish to see Government transform it into one of complete compensation; so that the house duty should be so extended, that it should raise a sum equal to that remitted by the repeal of the window tax. Thus, while the revenue would not suffer by the repeal of an odious tax, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not introduce into our financial system an inestimable instrument like the house duty, to waste its resources for a comparatively trifling purpose. With regard to the modification of the duties on timber and coffee, I must again repeat in a manner the most decided, that in expressing a hope that Ministers will not persist with these measures, I am offering no objection to them on the plea that they are customs duties. I discard all those principles of finance which would hold out customs duties as the only duties which ought to be encouraged. I feel that the revenue of a country like ours must be raised from various means spread over a large surface; and it is only because I believe there is no surplus to supply the vacancy which will be caused by those remissions, that I hope Ministers, under the circumstances, will not persist with what I consider impolitic propositions. At the same time we are prepared to support a measure which shall permit the British shipowner to build his ships in bond with materials free of duty, and thus place him in fair competition with the foreigner who brings his ships ready made into this country. In saying this, I beg to state that the loss to the revenue, under these circumstances, will not be, in my opinion, of any considerable amount. I have taken some pains to inform myself on this point, and have availed myself of the information of men most qualified to judge. I think we assumed that the loss by the remission of the duty on timber would he about 284,000l.; and I think I can guarantee to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the odd 84,000l., will be more than he will lose by permitting British shipowners to build their ships in bond. It would be not so much a remission of taxation, as an act of political justice. These are the measures which we are anxious to see Ministers undertake, assured of our support if they pursue that course which, according to my observation and belief, their better judgment once impelled them to follow. I see a smile on the face of the President of the Board of Trade when I talk of giving Government our support in carrying these measures, as much as to say that, though we would support them in these measures, we would hold back in our support if they were threatened in consequence with a vote of censure from hon. Gentlemen behind. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman he is mistaken. When I say we should support the Government, it is not merely in carrying these measures, but also against the menacing consequences he anticipates, and without taking advantage of any discontent of any section of his followers. We would support them because we believed their measures necessary to the welfare of the country. After all, what is at stake? It is the public credit. That is the question; it is not to be tolerated that a Ministry, acting under a feeling of false shame, or from a false point of honour, should encourage measures, the tendency of which is to injure the public credit. I beg to press upon the House this important consideration. We are so used to the blessings of public credit—we live in an atmosphere and in a world so completely under its influence, that we are not apt to reflect what may be the consequences of any injury done to it. I met lately a remark by one of the most able publicists of modern times, who has recently visited this country, which, although I am not prepared to admit its correctness, is deserving of the attention of the House. The writer says, that things are changed in England as they are everywhere else, and that property is not as secure as it was in this country, nor public credit as sacred. It can easily be understood that a foreigner may be misled by superficial symptoms, but the observation I have quoted was never before made on England by a man of so much authority. It well becomes us to consider what public credit is, and how much it is dependent on the conduct of this House. We well know that the resources of England, however considerable, are inferior to those of many countries which, nevertheless, have not attained the position we occupy. How often were we told by the Members of the League, in the days of our old struggle, that there was scarcely a raw material introduced into our ingenious and useful manufactures which was not an exotic, imported from foreign climes. The most celebrated diamond in the world is certainly at this moment resplendent in our immediate neigh- bourhood—within the teeming walls of that enchanted pile which the sagacious taste and the prescient philanthropy of an accomplished and enlightened Prince have raised for the glory of England, and the delight and instruction of two hemispheres—but every one knows the precious stone was not found within the dominions of the illustrious consort of His Royal Highness—our Sovereign Lady the Queen. And it may be truly said, that all the members of the Geological Society, with all their hammers, might knock, and split, and crush the quartz hills of England for ever without producing a single ingot of that metal, a sacred thirst for which seems ineradicable in the heart of man. I observed the other day in one of those organs which in the present age exercise so great an influence over opinion, a statistical catalogue, which appeared sufficiently accurate, of the revenues of the principal dominions of the world. It contained nothing new, perhaps, to any Gentleman in this House, but the aggregate of the information was very striking. I observed, for example, that colossal Russia, whose gigantic destinies, looming in the future, appal, as it were, the coming generations of man, and its enormous armies and vast administrative body were sustained by a public income not so great as that which is raised by the English exciseman. Austria—the ancient empire of the Csesars—with its treasury enriched by the triple revenues of three great kingdoms, Bohemia, Hungary, and Lombardy, does not command annual resources equal to those produced by those very "stamps and taxes" which occasion us so much criticism, and so much perplexity to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. While Prussia, whose vast and disciplined array only a year ago alarmed every capital in Europe, absolutely does not raise a revenue so large as is produced by that obscure, provincial, and local taxation, whoso peculiarities it is my lot so often to bring before the consideration of a too indulgent House of Commons. Nor could I forget that India, with its myriads of population and crowds of kings, with its "mountains of light" and pillared palanquins of precious metal showered like tribute at the feet of our Queen, with all the science and security of British administration, cannot produce from its broad and exuberant bosom a sum equal to that afforded by the curtailed custom-houses of England. What is the magic spell—what the cause of all this?—that this island should produce a revenue greater than all these vast dominions? It is, that in this country we have associated our material interests with the inspiration of a great moral principle, and that we have built up public wealth on the foundation of public credit. That is the choicest production of the British isles—more precious than all the harvests of tropic climes—than all the gems of Golconda, or the auriferous deposits of the sierras of the Pacific. Of that treasure the Parliament of England was the creator, as it is the champion and the guardian. I cannot doubt the House of Commons will be faithful to its office and fulfil its duty; and it is with this conviction I recommend to the consideration of the Ministers of the Queen and the representatives of the people the Resolutions I now move.

Amendment proposed—

"To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'according to an Estimate of the probable future produce of the existing Taxes, submitted to this House by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it appears that a surplus Revenue may be expected in the present year to the extent of about 2,000,000l.
"That in the Revenue so estimated is included a sum exceeding 5,000,000l. derived from the Tax on Income, respecting which an inquiry has been directed to be made by a Committee of this House, on the result of whose labours may depend the future renewal or modification of that important impost.
"That in this provisional state of the financial arrangements of the Country, it appears to this House to he most consistent with a due regard to the maintenance of public credit, and the exigencies of the public service, not to make any material sacrifice of public income in effecting such changes as may be doomed advisable in other branches of Taxation'—instead thereof."

said: Not long ago the hon. Member who has just sat down paid a compliment to my noble Friend (Lord John Russell) and myself, which we did not at all feel ourselves entitled to, when he said he admired our speeches; but added that we depended on them, and not upon our measures. I really think I am justified in retorting that observation on the hon. Member himself in the present instance. I assure the hon. Gentleman that I feel the very highest admiration for the orations which he (Mr. Disraeli) is in the habit of addressing to this House; but, unfortunately, this is the third time this Session that the hon. Gentleman has spoken on this subject of taxation and finance, and that, at the conclusion of an able speech, he has left us as before in the most complete ignorance of what his views and intentions are. I have listened with attention to the talented address of the hon. Gentleman on this occasion, which has occupied nearly two hours of our time, and I confess that the only practical point I could discover throughout was a suggestion that we should allow ships to be built in bond. There is one great disadvantage under which the hon. Gentleman labours, that his speech says one thing, and that his Motion says another. Not only does his Motion fall short of his speech, but it is absolutely contradictory of his speech, The Motion of the hon. Gentleman says, "Repeal no taxes." The speech of the hon. Gentleman says, "Repeal the window duties." The repeal of these duties the hon. Gentleman's speech deals with as a result realised; and the suggestion is, though not very boldly uttered, that we should throw away the whole of our surplus in the total repeal of those duties. The hon. Gentleman has moralised upon the value of public credit; and the way in which he would support public credit, would he by throwing away at once the whole of our surplus. I must pay the hon. Gentleman a willing tribute for the lively imagination he has shown throughout his speech. He has spoken eloquently of the "gigantic destinies of Russia," and of the "empire of the Cæsars, with its triple crown," although it did seem to me that he spoiled the eloquence of his sentence by a little bathos at the end about stamps, and taxes, and excise. He has spoken of "mountains of light," and "pillowed palanquins" in the most magnificent phraseology. There is no doubt that those poetic fancies are very pleasing, and that his concluding sentences were very grand and very amusing; hut they had nothing at all, that I know of, to do with the subject before us. The hon. Gentleman has made a most eloquent speech; he has answered the' hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Pusey); but he did not say a single word in support of his proposition that no tax should be repealed. And, indeed, were it not that some of the hon. Gentleman's flights of imagination refer to matters which have been practically before us this Session, I might fairly dismiss the speech, and call upon the House to go to a division, and negative the hon. Gentleman's Resolutions. But the hon. Gentleman has really been pleased to take some liberties with matters of fact; and on these I must for a few moments beseech the attention of the House. The hon. Gentleman says that he does not understand, and further that no man in the House can understand, what is the exact financial position of the country at this moment. I am sorry that I cannot give the hon. Gentleman understanding in this respect. I find, however, on referring to the financial statement which it was my duty to make to the House on the 4th of April last, that what I then described remains unchanged up to this moment. I have no reason now to think that my calculation of a probable surplus of 1,900,000l. will be altered. The remission of taxation as regards the window duties will still be what I then said it would be. The loss to the revenue on timber and coffee, will, I apprehend, be precisely what I stated three months ago, The surplus of this year, after those reductions, will be about 900,000l., from which will have to be deducted the cost of the Kaffir war. Nothing whatever has occurred to disturb the calculations which I made in April. The hon. Gentleman says that the surplus of this year entirely depends on the permanence of the income tax. I beg to assure the hon. Gentleman that it depends on no such thing. What may happen next year is another thing; but, as far as this year is concerned, the surplus is not affected, if the income tax is not continued beyond the year. The hon. Gentleman also says that all my calculations are built on what I advocate—the permanence of the income tax. It appears to me that the hon. Gentleman's memory is uncommonly short. I have never yet advocated, in any speech I have ever addressed to this House, the permanence of the income tax. So much is that not the case, that, in answer to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stamford (Mr. Herries), I said that I proposed a renewal of the income tax as it had been proposed before, for the purpose of making way for certain changes in the financial measures of the country, which I thought much more necessary than the repeal of the income tax. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) has further said that I made the observation that I did not see the period when the income tax could be expected to end. Again, I admire the imagination of the hon. Gentleman. But I must beg of him not to put words into my mouth which I never used. What I did say was, that I proposed this year to deal with those taxes which I thought it indispensable to deal with; and that, in another year, it would remain with the House to decide upon the advisability, the necessity being no longer a question, of making other changes in lieu of a repeal or reduction of the income tax. The hon. Gentleman says that we acted right in maintaining our places, promising us, in a kindly spirit, a support which I have no reason to call upon him to give, but that he wonders why we retained those financial measures which, as he represents, every one supposed to have been withdrawn. If my recollection servos me, I think it was very shortly after the success, as I deem it the unfortunate success, of the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, in respect to the income tax, that my noble Friend, or myself, I forget which, stated to the House that in regard to the financial measures of the year, we were not inclined to make any alteration whatever; that we meant to go forward with all the measures which it was necessary to carry in order to bring our financial scheme into immediate effect; and though, in order to carry forward another great measure upon which the feeling of the country was much excited, it would be necessary to postpone them for a little, the fact of their being postponed till the month of May, June, or July, would present no practical difficulty whatever in the financial arrangements of the year. Thus much I have thought it necessary to say, in order to remove the impression which the lively imagination of the hon. Gentleman may have produced upon the House as to matters of fact. I will now dismiss the speech of the hon. Gentleman, which not only contained nothing in support of his Motion, but which, as I have shown, was in some respects directly opposed to it. The Motion is to the effect that no material sacrifice of the public income ought to be made this year. That is to say, if there be any meaning in words, this means that that reduction of duty which was assented to by the House a second time ought not to be made; that that which the hon. Gentleman considers as the slightest relief which could be proposed, should be given up; and that other relief, on which, as he said on a former occasion, the country had set its heart, should be abandoned; that the window tax ought not to be repealed, and that a modified house tax ought not to be substituted in its place. The hon. Gentleman, on a former occasion, on going into Committee on this tax, moved an Amendment, and made a long speech. From the long speech there was no conclusion to be drawn except this—that he objected to the repeal of the window duties. He certainly said then, as he says now, that he is excessively sorry to interfere with the repeal of the window duties, and that he is steadily resolved not to oppose this great remission of taxation. Nevertheless, we see the practical tendency of the hon. Gentleman's Amendments. The hon. Gentleman said that enough was not done for the agricultural interest in the repeal of these duties; and I then endeavoured, I thought successfully, to convince the country Gentlemen, that however great might be the relief proposed to be given in this way to the towns, the benefit to be conferred on the agricultural districts would be even greater in proportion. The hon. Gentleman's argument now is that the public credit was in danger. I think the hon. Gentleman ought to have thought of that risk before he went into the same lobby on a recent occasion with my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose. I cannot suppose that the hon. Gentleman, whose acute intellect is remarkable in this House, did not foresee that the result of the triumph of my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose would be the serious endangering of the public credit. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) now—and I am most grateful to him for his anxiety—insists upon preserving the integrity of the public credit and of the revenue. The hon. Gentleman has referred to numerous financial and fiscal considerations. But has this always been the opinion of the hon. Gentleman since the success of my hon. Friend? I am certainly glad to find the hon. Gentleman so determined to preserve under all circumstances the public credit. But the other day there was a Motion made in this House which endangered no less an amount of revenue than 5,000,000l. The Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose was carried on the 2nd May. On the 8th May the hon. Member for the North Biding of Yorkshire (Mr. Cayley) moved the repeal of the malt tax. The finances of the country were put in jeopardy, the public credit of the nation was endangered as greatly on the 8th of May as they are now on the 3Oth of June. Yet I find that when the repeal of the malt tax was proposed, an hon. Gentleman rose in his place and said that if the Motion were to be considered on merely fiscal and financial grounds, it might be easily disposed of, but that there were far higher and other considerations in connexion with the question; and in the division in favour of this Motion, asking a surrender of 5,000,000l., I find the name of Benjamin Disraeli. Have we two Benjamins in the field? Is there one Benjamin so reckless of public credit that he votes for the sacrifice at one swoop of 5,000,000l. of revenue in a critical year?—and another Benjamin who is so scrupulous that he is afraid to meddle with a surplus of 1,900,000l., fearing that it may endanger the finances of the country? In these "days of vacillation," to use the phrase of the hon. Gentleman, surely some explanation is required; and perhaps he, in those eloquent sentences which he knows so well to frame, will clear away so curious an inconsistency. An intelligible explanation on such a point would, no doubt, be much more satisfactory to the House than the exuberant flights of fancy in which the lion. Gentleman has to-night so largely indulged. I will not enter further into an answer to the hon. Gentleman. I beg the House to observe that this is really the question raised—Is or is not the window tax to be repealed? This is the second time the hon. Gentleman has raised that question in an Amendment. If the House is in favour of the repeal of the tax, it is hound to negative the Resolution of the hon. Gentleman. I have not changed the opinions which I expressed in proposing the repeal of this tax, and the substitution of a modified house tax. I believe now, as I believed then, that it will afford a great relief to all classes in this country, and to the agricultural class not less than to others. I am as anxious as the hon. Gentleman can be to support the public credit and to maintain a surplus. I think surplus enough is left after such repeal of taxes as I have proposed. And believing, as I do, that the substitution of a house tax would be adequately productive for the demands of the Exchequer, and, on the other hand, would immeasurably contribute to the health and comfort of our follow-subjects, I should he excessively grieved if the decision of the House tonight reverses that which it recorded on a former occasion—thus rejecting what I regard as the greatest boon of the financial year to the country. The question now put by the hon. Member is plainly aye or no—Shall the house tax be repealed? and I hope and trust that the House will by a large majority reply in the affimative.

said, the subject brought forward by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) was one of the deepest importance, considered with a view to the prospective condition of the public interest; and he wished briefly to state his sincere concurrence with the hon. Gentleman in his belief that it was highly inexpedient to sacrifice a large amount of public revenue at the present moment, and particularly when there was a largo amount of an unsettled claim with the East India Company. But, at the same time, he wished to guard himself from being precluded by voting on the present occasion against voting for any remission of taxation which might hereafter be proposed, either by the Government or any hon. Gentlemen opposite. He considered the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire was right in his views with respect to all the most important interests of the country, and, therefore, he would vote for the present Motion.

said, he must confess that in listening to the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire it had occurred to him that there was one part of it which he could have wished to have received a fuller development under his hands. He referred to the particular course which he appeared to indicate the House should pursue in the event of the adoption of his Motion. But with the objections which he (Mr. Gladstone) had stated upon a former occasion to the financial plans of the Government, he could not refuse to give his support to a Motion which, in his opinion, assorted a sound financial principle in opposition to those plans. He should endavour to state with great brevity, and at the same time with great plainness, the course which it appeared to him the House was bound to pursue. At the commencement of the year the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to repeal the window tax; and he likewise proposed the renewal of the income tax for the ordinary period of three years. Even under these circumstances, he must confess it appeared to him most unwise and most hazardous as regarded the permanent maintenance of public credit to part with an impost of so important a character as that of the window tax; and in professing to find a substitute for that impost in the form of a house tax, to place that house tax upon the very narrow, and, as he thought, the very illegitimate, basis which the Government had chosen for its foundation. He objected to the plan proposed by the Government with reference to the house tax for two reasons. In the first place, he objected to it because it was the reintroduction, without the slightest qualification, of those great anomalies in the imposition of the tax, which, he would venture to say, were the sole cause of its abolition in 1834. He alluded to the inequality of its incidence upon the mansions of the great as compared with mansions of a medium character—with houses for the middle classes, and houses used for the purposes of business. He had not heard this objection maintained on the present occasion, on the principle, he supposed, that people did not like to look a gift horse in the mouth; because the right hon. Gentleman, though proposing a house tax, proposed at the same time to remove the window tax, and the objections to the former imposts were, therefore, allowed to pass in silence. But he, for one, could not regard the house tax as resting on a secure foundation, which reintroduced those very objectionable features which had once before been the cause of the abolition of the tax. But even if he were to overlook this flaw, he could not commend the plan of a house tax, which exempted altogether from the operation of the tax something like six-sevenths of the house property of the country. There was no reason in the world why they should take so irrational a course with reference to the foundation of a house tax, which would give something like a charter of exemption to such a large mass of house property. Now, he knew no more legitimate subject of taxation, if taxed on a sound general principle, than house property. If it was true, and upon that he gave no opinion, that house property was subjected to severe burdens with regard to local purposes, at least it was subjected to no undue amount of burden with respect to the Imperial Treasury. It seemed to him, then, the most obvious and unexceptional of the permanent resources of the country; and he, for one, could not prevail upon himself to give a vote which would greatly prejudice, under ordinary circumstances, the interests of the country with respect to an impost so important. But the position in which the House now stood with regard to the income tax seemed to him to add tenfold importance to the consideration. If they grudged that a sacrifice should be made with respect to a duty on houses at a time when it was anticipated that the income tax was to be renewed for three years, how much more formidable a character did the question now assume? He trusted that the House would seriously consider for a moment the position in which the income tax at present stood. It was impossible to conceal from themselves the fact that the proceedings of the present year had inflicted a heavy blow upon that impost. It was scarcely possible, he thought, to conceive that its renewal could be again proposed to the House without serious, probably an obstinate, opposition from one or more parties in that House. There was a large body of Gentlemen in that House who said that it was grossly unjust to levy the income tax upon a uniform percentage on the several Schedules embodied in the Act; and those Gentlemen had so far succeeded in impressing the House with their views as to have obtained a Parliamentary Committee, avowedly for the purpose of considering, not exclusively, but mainly, whether there ought to be a varied percentage upon the different Schedules of the Act. Then again the Government were certainly not to be looked upon as among the friends of the income tax. He might question the case of the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, in 1848, gave in something very like his adhesion to the principle of the income tax as a permanent part of the taxation of the country. But however that might be, speaking of the party opposite, it was manifest that when the income tax was proposed it was received by them with the most persevering opposition; and the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had within the last few weeks spoken of the tax in terms which showed that no unvarying support of that tax was to be expected from that section of the House. On the other hand, there was another party whose opinion he gathered to be, that the frauds perpetrated under Schedule D were of such a nature and extent as to constitute a serious, and, if not mitigated, an insuperable, objection to the renewal of the tax. He had said that there was a party opposite who insisted that there must be a varied percentage under the different schedules; but there was also a party on that (the Opposition) side of the House, who, under no circumstance, would be induced to assent to the renewal of the income tax if the percentage were varied, because they believed (whether rightly or wrongly), that, apart entirely from considerations of policy, the House were absolutely precluded, by a solemn and formal pledge on the Statute- book, from adopting anything in the nature of such a variation. In what condition, then, was this unfortunate income tax, which had been committed to the mercies of a Parliamentary Committee, to come out of that Committee? Would it come out with a recommendation in favour of a varied percentage under the different Schedules? If it did, then he predicted that the income tax would not receive the assent of the House. If, on the other hand, it came out of the Committee without such a recommendation, it would still be certain to meet with the hostility of a powerful party. It was impossible, indeed, to forecast all the contingencies to which the tax might be exposed; but this he would venture to say, that this great impost which yielded 5,000,000l. of revenue was placed in a most precarious position; and if it was placed in this precarious position, he asked the House whether it was politic, whether it was altogether honest, to exclude from their view a contingency so great, and at the same time so possible, as the total lapse of the income tax? For if it did lapse, how was the House to maintain public credit? Hon. Members talked, and talked justly, of economy; and he, for one, did not believe that the House had in that respect exceeded its duty in enforcing economy and retrenchment. He hoped, indeed, to see more done in that direction. Arrangements had already been made which would effect in future years a considerable saving of public expenditure in connexion with the debt; but was there any man so sanguine as to believe—for most certainly if there was, he (Mr. Gladstone) was not prepared to follow him—that they could dispense with the income tax, maintain public credit, and at the same time altogether withhold their hand from a new description of taxation? Well, what was this new description of taxation to be? With the resources of a fair house tax to fill up some portion of the deficiency, he should not be afraid to meet these contingencies. But the house tax was placed on a basis so narrow that it could never be made really or considerably productive in an exigency. This was the foundation of the objection he entertained to the plan of the Government; and if asked "what have you to recommend?" he disclaimed, in the first place, on the part of those who were not connected with the Government, the duty of pointing out in detail, or anything approaching to detail, any of the financial measures to be adopted, and especially of those connected with direct taxation. But he would say that what they ought to do was this—to adopt the principle laid down in the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, that the surplus they had on hand was not at the moment to be given away without the slightest reference to future necessities. But if they thought fit to adhere to the reductions proposed, the least they ought to do was to place the house tax upon an equitable footing, and upon a basis so widened as to yield a considerable sum to the public Exchequer. What should be the precise width of that basis he did not pretend to say—whether they should take the limit of the Parliamentary franchise—and tax houses above 10l. only; whether they should go lower and make all house property by a graduated scale liable to taxation; or whether it would be right to levy a tax on the owner or the occupier, were questions on which it would be premature for him at the present moment to express an opinion; but the fundamental objection to the Government plan was that it cut off to a certain extent a most valuable source of public revenue at a moment when by the course adopted by the House with respect to the income tax, a resort to that resource might be highly essential to the maintenance of the interests of the country and of the public credit, which they all had at heart. In voting for the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, he was very far from saying that Her Majesty's Government would have done right in withdrawing the changes which they had proposed to make by the Customs Bill. The sacrifice of revenue proposed by the Bill he cheerfully assented to, because the public had a right to expect some consideration in return for the renewal of the income tax. Furthermore, when he considered that the remission of the duty upon coffee and timber was a remission which took effect incidentally upon the first Vote of the House; that the transactions of the country in these two important trades had been conducted for three or four months with reference to that remission; and, further, that the nature of the revenue which they affect is not an inflexible description of revenue which has no principle of reproduction, but is of that elastic description which replaces itself by increased energy imparted to the trade and commerce of the country—he would, under no circumstances, be an objecting party to the Customs Bill. But with regard to the house tax, he could not reconcile it to his view of public duty to allow it to pass without opposition, because it was an Act which would sacrifice an important source of revenue, which might have been drawn from houses without the slightest objection on the part of the public, and which would have tended to maintain the public credit under a necessity which might become extremely formidable, and which events showed to be rather near at hand.

said, that the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) had declared that he did not wish the country to understand that the window tax was not to be repealed; and the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford did not wish, in supporting the present Amendment, to affirm that the remission of the duties on coffee or timber should not take place. The Motion before the House declared it inexpedient to make any considerable reduction of taxation in the course of the present Session, especially considering that the income tax had been voted only for a single year. That Motion had been supported by two distinguished Members of that House; by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, and the right hon. Gentleman who had just resumed his scat. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had declared that he did not wish the House to understand that he was against the repeal of the window tax. The right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, had stated it as his opinion, that in supporting this Motion, the House did not express an opinion that the duties on coffee should be continued. What was the question before the House? This was the practical question which the House had to determine, namely, whether the arrangement proposed by the Government with regard to the remission of the window tax, and the reduction of the duty on coffee and timber, should be persisted in; or whether, on the other hand, the determination of this House to grant the income tax only for a single year was a matter of such grave import as to justify them in deranging the whole of the financial scheme of the year, and disappointing the expectations of the country with regard to the proposed repeal of the window tax, and reduction of the duty on coffee and timber. He was not at all prepared to justify the Resolution which had been adopted to continue the income tax for a single year, for he had never so much regretted any Vote since he had had the honour of a seat in that House. He knew that that Vote had been come to by a union of parties of the utmost diversity of sentiment, and the most discordant opinions. He was not, however, of opinion that any fatal blow had been struck thereby at the public credit of this country. He should be unjust, indeed, if he imputed any such motive to those who carried that Vote, for he believed that there had never been a period when there existed, both in this House and in the country, a greater desire to maintain at all hazards that public credit which, it had been justly observed in the course of that debate, had been not only the pillar of our strength, but the stay of our financial prosperity. He did not believe that the public credit rested on such an unstable foundation as seemed by some to be supposed, and he had regretted the Vote on the income tax on very different grounds. He felt assured that whatever course the House might take with regard to the income tax, they would see to place the finances of the country on a satisfactory footing. He quite agreed with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) that the whole of the direct taxation of the country was mainly of a character to which exceptions attached—that there were exceptions connected with a house tax, and exceptions connected with the window tax; but these exceptions connected with direct taxes pressed more exclusively on the rich classes; the great mass of our indirect taxation pressed with undue severity on the industrious and hardworking body of the people. The right hon. Gentleman must also recollect that the window tax, for which the house tax was a substitute, was by no moans a tax without exemptions, and some of these exemptions not of a very clear or defined character. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had stated that he was prepared to proffer on behalf of his friends, to the shipbuilding interest, the advantage of allowing ships to be built in bond in this country. He should be very sorry to see a resort to the exploded and injurious system of multiplying manufactures in bond; and he could show that at this moment there did not exist any reason for adopting such a course as respected the shipbuilding interest. The whole amount of foreign tonnage registered in England in 1850, the year when the trade had been opened, was not more than 10,000 tons; and he believed that in the port of London alone a larger amount of tonnage had been built by British shippers on foreign account.

said, it appeared he had been the marplot of the Government on this question of the income tax. He was, however, under no alarm whatever on the subject. With respect to the present budget of the Ministry, he had nothing to object, only that it did not go far enough. He agreed with the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer that the reduction of the duty on timber and coffee was highly necessary to carry out the plans and principles of free trade which had been left to the Government by the late Sir Robert Peel; and he (Mr. Hume) only wished to sec these principles carried further. He was one of those who thought that the repeal of the window tax was highly necessary. The country expected it, and he should be sorry to see any deviation from the resolution to repeal it. He entirely approved of the house tax, but disapproved of the manner in which it was to be carried out. He would have exempted all houses of 40s. and under, but no other property should have had any exception in its favour. Exceptions were always the cause of fraud, discontent, and vexation, when carried into the matter of taxation. He had to ask what it was that the Members of Her Majesty's Government were afraid of from the inquiry on the income tax? Had not every speaker denounced that tax as unjust, and not to be tolerated? The noble Lord at the head of the Government, and the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer, joined with hon. Gentlemen opposite in wishing the tax done away with. He (Mr. Hume) had said that the time would come when it would be a permanent tax. They talked of the opinions of the hon. Gentlemen on this side and on that side, but he would tell them that there was another side out of doors—the country at large. He wished to raise the taxation of the country in the manner the least burdensome to the industry of the country. Hitherto the taxes had been levied on the industrious classes, and the rich had paid but little. Of the 52,500,000l. which was now raised, the House would scarcely believe that 84 per cent was levied on the industry of the country, and the remaining portion was doubtful and mixed. It was with the view of improving our system of taxation that he wished for a reconsideration of it altogether, and he considered the Committee on the Income Tax as a step towards a general revision of our taxation. In placing that taxation on a just footing, no difficulty need be experienced.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 242; Noes 129: Majority 113.

List of the AYES.

Abdy, Sir T. N.Elliot, hon. J. E.
Adair, H. E.Estcourt J. B. B.
Adair, R. A. S.Evans, Sir De L.
Aglionby, H. A.Evans, J.
Alcock, T.Evans, W.
Anson, hon. Col.Ewart, W.
Armstrong, Sir A.Ferguson, Col.
Bagshaw, J.Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T.FitzPatrick. rt. hon. J. W.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F.T.Fitzroy, hon. H.
Bass, M. T.Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.
Beckett, W.Forster, M.
Bell, J.Fortescue, C.
Bellow, R. M.Fox, R. M.
Berkeley, Adm.Fox, W. J.
Berkeley, hon. H. F.Freestun, Col.
Berkeley, C. L. G.Glyn, G. C.
Bernal, R.Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Birch, Sir T. B.Granger, T. C.
Bouverie, hon. E. P.Greenall, G.
Boyd, J.Grenfell, C. P.
Boyle, hon. Col.Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Brockman, E. D.Grey, R. W.
Brotherton, J.Grosvenor, Lord R.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W.Guest, Sir J.
Bunbury, E. H.Hall, Sir B.
Buxton, Sir E. N.Hanmer, Sir J.
Cardwell, E.Hardcastle, J. A.
Carew, W. H. P.Hastie, A.
Carter, J. B.Hastie, A.
Cavendish, hon. C. C.Hatchell, rt. hon. J.
Cavendish, hon. G. H.Hawes, B.
Chaplin, W. J.Headlam, T. E.
Christy, S.Heneage, G. H. W.
Clay, J.Heneage, E.
Clay, Sir W.Henry, A.
Clements, hon. C. S.Hervey, Lord A.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.Heywood, J.
Cobden, R.Heyworth, L.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.Hindley, C.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E.Hobhouse, T. B.
Collins, W.Hodges, T. L.
Cowan, C.Hodges, T. T.
Cowper, hon. W. F.Hogg, Sir J. W.
Craig, Sir W. G.Hollond, R.
Crawford, W. S.Howard, Lord E.
Crawford, R. W.Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Crowder, R. B.Howard, hon. J. K.
Currie, R.Howard, hon. E. G. G.
Curteis, H. M.Howard, P. H.
Davie, Sir H. R. F.Howard, Sir R.
Dawes, E.Hudson, G.
Dawson, hon. T. V.Hume, J.
Denison, J. E.Hutchins, E. J.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T.Hutt, W.
Divett, E.Johnstone, J.
Douglas, Sir C. E.Kershaw, J.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.Kildare, Marq. of
Duke, Sir J.Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Duncan, Visct.Langston, J. H.
Duncan, G.Lawley, hon. B. R.
Duncuft J.Legh, G. C.
Dundas, Adm.Lemon, Sir C.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.Lennard, T. B.
East, Sir J. B.Lewis, G. C.
Ebrington, Visct.Lindsay, hon. Col.
Ellice, E.Loch, J.
Ellis, J.Locke, J.

Mackie, J.Russell, F. C. H.
Mackinnon, W. A.Salwey, Col.
M'Gregor, J.Sandars, J.
Mangles, R. D.Scobell, Capt.
Marshall, J. G.Scrope, G. P.
Marshall, W.Seymour, Lord
Martin, J.Shafto, R. D.
Martin, C. W.Shelburne, Earl of
Masterman, J.Sheridan, R. B.
Matheson, A.Slaney, R. A.
Matheson, Col.Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Melgund, Visct.Smith, J. A.
Milner, W. M. E.Smith, M. T.
Milnes, R. M.Smith, J. B.
Mitchell, T. A.Smollett, A.
Moffatt, G.Somers, J. P.
Molesworth, Sir W.Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Moncreiff, J.Spearman, H. J.
Morris, D.Stansfield, W. R. C.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.Stanton, W. H.
Mowatt, F.Staunton, Sir G. T.
Mulgrave, Earl ofSutton, J. H. M.
Muntz, G. F.Tancred, H. W.
Murphy, F. S.Tennont, R. J.
O'Connell, M. J.Thicknesse, R. A.
Ogle, S. C. H.Thompson, Col.
Ord, W.Thornely, T.
Osborne, R.Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Owen, Sir J.Towneley, J.
Paget, Lord A.Townley, R. G.
Paget, Lord C.Vane, Lord H.
Paget, Lord G.Villiers, Visct.
Palmer, R.Villiers, hon. C.
Palmerston, Visct.Vivian, J. H.
Pechell, Sir G. B.Walmsley, Sir J.
Peel, F.Watkins, Col. L.
Perfect, R.Wawn, J. T.
Peto, S. M.Wegg-Prosser, F. R.
Philips, Sir G. R.Wellesley, Lord C.
Pigott, F.Westhead, J. P. B.
Pilkington, J.Willcox, B. M.
Plowden, W. H. C.Williams, J.
Price, Sir R.Williams, W.
Pusey, P.Willyams, H.
Rawdon, Col.Williamson, Sir H.
Reid, Col.Wilson, J.
Ricardo, J. L.Wilson, M.
Ricardo, O.Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Rice, E. R.Wood, Sir W. P.
Rich, H.Wrightson, W. B.
Robartes, T. J. A.Wyvill, M.
Romilly, Col.
Romilly, Sir J.


Rumbold, C. E.Hayter, W. G.
Russell, Lord J.Hill, Lord M.

List of the NOES.

Arbuthnott, hon. H.Brisco, M.
Archdall, Capt. M.Brooke, Lord
Bagot, hon. W.Buck, L. W.
Baillie, H. J.Buller, Sir J. Y.
Baird, J.Bunbury, W. M.
Baldock, E. H.Burghley, Lord
Baring, T.Campbell, Sir A. I.
Barron, Sir H. W.Cholmeley, Sir M.
Bateson, T.Christopher, R. A.
Bennet, P.Clive, H. B.
Bentinck, Lord H.Cobbold, J. C.
Berkeley, hon. G. F.Codrington, Sir W.
Blandford, Marq. ofConolly, T.
Booth, Sir R. G.Corbally, M. E.
Bramston, T. W.Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Bremridge, R.Disraeli, B.

Dod, J. W.Meagher, T.
Drax, J. S. W. S. E.Manners, Lord C. S.
Dundas, G.March, Earl of
Farnham, E. B.Miles, P. W. S.
Farrer, J.Mullings, J. R.
Fellowes, E.Mundy, W.
Forbes, W.Naas, Lord
Forester, hon. G. C. W.Napier, J.
Fox, S. W. L.Neeld, J.
Frewen, C. H.Neeld, J.
Fuller, A. E.Newdegate, C. N.
Gallwey, Sir W. P.Newport, Visct.
Galway, Visct.Noel, hon. G. J.
Gilpin, Col.O'Brien, Sir L.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E.O'Brien, Sir T.
Goddard, A. L.O'Flaherty, A.
Gooch, E. S.Ossulston, Lord
Goold, W.Packe, C. W.
Gordon, Adm.Powlett, Lord W.
Gore, W. O.Prime, R.
Grace, O. D. J.Renton, J. C.
Granby, Marq. ofRepton, G. W. J.
Grogan, E.Scott, hon. F.
Guernsey, LordScully, F.
Hallewell, E. G.Seaham, Visct.
Halsey, T. P.Smythe, hon. G.
Hamilton, G. A.Stafford, A.
Hamilton, J. H.Stanley, E.
Hamilton, Lord C.Sullivan, M.
Herbert, H. A.Taylor, T. E.
Herbert, rt. hon. S.Thesiger, Sir F.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C.Thornhill, G.
Higgins, G. G. O.Trevor, hon. G. R.
Hildyard, R. C.Tyler, Sir G.
Hildyard, T. B. T.Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Hill, Lord E.Verner, Sir W.
Hope, Sir J.Vesey, hon. T.
Hornby, J.Villiers, hon. F. W. C.
Hotham, LordVyse, R. H. R. H.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.Waddington, H. S.
Jones, Capt.Walsh, Sir J. B.
Knightley, Sir C.Whiteside, J.
Knox, Col.Williams, T. P.
Langton, W. H. P. G.Wodehouse, E.
Lennox, Lord A. G.Wynn, H. W. W.
Lennox, Lord H. G.Yorke, hon. E. T.
Leslie, C. P.Young, Sir J.
Long, W.


Lowther, hon. Col.Beresford, W.
Lygon, hon. Gen.Mackenzie, W. F.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill considered in Committee.

House resumed; Committee report progress.

General Board Of Health Bill

Order for Third Reading read.

Bill read 3°.

said, notwithstanding what passed the other night, he was of opinion that they ought to leave out the words then introduced into the Bill. Both he and the House were taken by surprise. He was, by finding the House in Committee on the Bill which had been in the notices for months. He objected to the words at the time, and he found that his Friend Lord Ashley, now the Earl of Shaftesbury, concurred in opinion with him I that the introduction would go far towards rendering nugatory the provisions of the Bill, confirming the provisional orders. He therefore proposed the omission of the words "so far as the same are authorised by the Public Health Act." It was notorious that the public was unrepresented in Private Committees; and during the railway mania it appeared that sham oppositions were got up, in order to cause Bills to be referred to Select Committees, in which provisions were introduced inconsistent with the public interests. He feared that the effect of the words would be to cause the perpetration of similar jobs with reference to local inquiries.

Amendment proposed—

"In Clause 1, line 11, to omit the words, 'so far as the same are authorised by the Public Health Act.'"

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

thought the words in question only made the Bill consistent with the former Act.

said, the words were introduced into the Act of last year on the best legal advice he could get in that House, and, acting on the same advice, he had introduced them into this Bill.

said, that if the words were omitted, the provisions of the Public Health Act might be overturned.

Question put, and agreed to.

said, he must oppose the proposition. He was quite ready to admit that Hastings was one of the dirtiest towns in England; but the point was, that St. Leonard's, being a clean town, could not be justly laden with the expense of cleansing Hastings.

said, Hastings was originally included within the operation of the Bill by the Board of Health.

said, if the noble Lord (Lord Seymour) had made himself as well acquainted with the provisions of the Board of Health Act as with the operations of the Woods and Forests department, he would have known that there was a power in that Act to charge special districts for any benefits which might be specially conferred upon them.

said, the people of Hastings were not unanimously desirous of being included within the operations of the Health of Towns Bill.

Question put, "That 'Hastings' be there inserted."

The House divided:—Ayes 95; Noes 77: Majority 18.

Bill passed.

The House adjourned at One o'clock.